NEW YORK – Confident in the support of the overwhelming majority of the Diaspora and his constituency in general, New York State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris spoke with The National Herald about a recent New York Post article which alleges that members of his own party will challenge his reelection campaign next year following his much publicized opposition to the building of Amazon’s second headquarters in Long Island City.
Amazon withdrew from the deal in November of last year after many protests by the public and elected officials including Gianaris and New York City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer who both represent the Long Island City area where Amazon would have built their second headquarters. Van Bremer is also running for Queens Borough President. U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx/Queens) also opposed the Amazon deal.
According to the same report in the Post, Justin Potter, creator of an anti-Gianaris website, and a staunch supporter of Amazon’s Long Island City investment plan, has already filed papers to challenge Gianaris in the Democratic primary election.
The Post quoted from Long Island City resident Joseph Hong who wrote to Governor Andrew Cuomo in a letter obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, “Senator Gianaris is up for re-election next year; while he previously ran uncontested, I can guarantee you that will not happen again. I am actively involved in a campaign to challenge him in the primary next year,” referring to Potter’s campaign.
The Post also quoted from Wendy Rosen who sent Gov. Cuomo two letters, “Can you pull the string and get someone to challenge him in the next primary? You know, he’s no AOC… He can and should be easily replaced.”
On November 26, at a turkey distribution event in Brooklyn reporters asked Gov. Cuomo if he would support an effort to oust Gianaris, the Post reported, adding that Cuomo replied, “It’s Thanksgiving, this is what we are doing now.”
Gianaris told the Post, also on November 26, “I stood up for a community that is under stress from gentrification and crumbling mass transit. I’m proud of taking the slings and arrows for them.”
Gianaris told TNH, “We have a democracy, if anyone disagrees or wants to run against me, they can do it. I believe that for many years I have been working very hard for our neighborhood, for the Greek-American community in particular, and I think I have the support of most people. Those who have been complaining have been doing it for 20 years and have never supported me. Neither have they ever supported the Greek community, even if some of them are Greeks.”
He also told TNH that Gov. Cuomo has not yet backed any nomination against him.
Gianaris has made it clear that the response he receives from his constituents is quite different from what his inner-party opponents claim, noting that a large majority still supports him.
“I am out on the streets every day, going to my office every day, I know that I have the support of the Greek-American community and Astoria in general,” concluded Gianaris.