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Second Candidate Vying for Astoria Council Seat Drops Out, Endorses Tiffany Cabán

Rod Townsend and Tiffany Cabán in front of a mural honoring LGBTQ activist Marsha P. Johnson (Rod Townsend via Twitter)

Oct. 1, 2020 By Allie Griffin

The number of candidates looking to run for the City Council seat to represent Astoria is narrowing.

Rod Townsend, a Community Board 1 member and former president of the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, has ended his campaign and endorsed the high-profile progressive Tiffany Cabán for the District 22 seat.

Townsend, who made the announcement today, said he decided to drop out of the race for both personal and financial reasons, including the struggle of running a campaign while working a fulltime job.

“At the end of the day, the path to a victory in a highly competitive race would require quitting my job and somehow still paying my bills,” Townsend wrote in a letter to supporters. “Like most working class New Yorkers, I don’t have the money in the bank to live without income for a prolonged time.”

He then said that he believes Cabán is the right choice to represent Astoria in the City Council.

“As for what is next for City Council District 22, I think it’s Tiffany Cabán,” Townsend said. “We share a moral compass that leads us to fight for our whole community, not just a selected few. We both recognize that our city needs to tear down systems that don’t work and rebuild them so they work for everyone.”

Townsend is the second candidate to exit the race and back Cabán.

Jesse Cerrotti, a youth organizer and self-described Democratic socialist, dropped out of the race Sept. 10,  the day Cabán officially launched her bid. That same day, he publicly endorsed her for the council seat that will be vacated by Costa Constantinides at the end of next year due to term limits.

Cabán has a leg up on her remaining opponents having built a loyal base during her unsuccessful bid last year to be Queens District Attorney.

She conceded to Melinda Katz in the Democratic primary after a six-week manual recount and a court battle. Cabán lost by a 55-vote margin, but the much-watched race solidified her spot as a progressive leader.

Cabán said Thursday she was excited to have the support of Townsend.

“Rod is a visible, tireless leader and active member of our community,” she said in a statement. “I intend to be a representative for every single person in every single corner of our district here in Queens, and I am proud to have Rod joining our movement to bring radical change to this city.”

She has already been endorsed by several elected officials and groups including State Sens. Jessica Ramos and Michael Gianaris, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer and Democratic nominee for the State Assembly Jessica González-Rojas as well as the Working Families Party.

Other candidates still in the running for the District 22 seat include Jaime-Faye Bean, Leonardo Bullaro, Evie Hantzopoulos, Felicia Kalan and Nicholas Roloson.

Roloson, who is Constantinides’ chief of staff, has already been endorsed by the council member.

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