2009-05-29 / Front Page

Lew Simon Backs Out Of Council Race

By Nicholas Briano

Lew Simon, Rockaway Democratic District Leader and second place finisher in February's City Council special election, has decided not to run again in November's general election.

Simon, who said he would continue on to the general election after his loss to Republican Eric Ulrich, has decided not to challenge fellow Democrat and party favorite Frank Gulluscio in a Democratic primary.

Gulluscio, based in Howard Beach and former aide to past City Councilman Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., was the favorite to win the special election to replace his former boss, but was knocked out of the race when his nominating petitions were challenged prior to the February 24 special election.

Simon, on the other hand, continued on and finished a strong second behind Ulrich and had every intention to challenge Gulluscio for a second chance at defeating Ulrich. Instead he has backed out and says he plans to support Gulluscio in hopes of unifying the Democratic party across the district.

"It is very mixed emotions. My dream was to be part of the City Council, but unfortunately due to financial restraints I will not be running," Simon said.

Those financial restraints, he says, made him wait until the last possible minute to decide on his candidacy, but added that he expects to play an important role in the election in adding supporters for Gulluscio. He says a lot of volunteers stepped up for another run, but he doesn't have enough financial support for a primary and election run.

"I am supporting Frank Gullsucio for party unity. I feel it is important to have a Democrat in the City Council," he said. "Forty-eight of 51 City Council members are Democrat and as a Democrat, you can bring more back to your community. I am confident he will do an outstanding job."

Simon decided to run against Addabbo in a City Council Democratic primary in 2001, but lost with 22 percent of the vote compared to Addabbo's 43 percent. Addabbo served for seven years prior to winning a state Senate seat in last November's general election. As a result he vacated his City Council seat for the last year of his term, opening the door again for Simon via last February's special election, but failed to defeat the 24-year-old Republican, Ulrich, losing by nearly 1,000 votes.

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