The outspoken Flushing elected official has been taking the lead on a number of progressive issues, from breaking up Big Tech to canceling all student debt. In other words, the avid Bernie Sanders supporter has been moving – or at least feels more embolden to speak out - increasingly to the left since he was first elected to office in 2012.
But if he rules out a beep run and decides to remain in the Assembly, he is going to face a primary challenge from his own party.
Steven Lee may be a newcomer to politics, but his name might be familiar to people in Flushing and beyond.
Lee was the whistleblower cop from the 109th Precinct who went undercover to try to bring to light a scheme by two other precinct officers who wanted to frame anew captain for rape.
The two cops were involved in protecting local karaoke bars dealing in drugs and prostitution, and they were worried the new captain would put a kibosh on their side hustle.
But during his years undercover, Lee says he discovered a lot more corruption that involved members of the force from outside the 109th Precinct, including several higher-ups, but that the Internal Affairs liaisons he was working with were uninterested in hearing about it – they were only concerned about the attempt to frame the captain.
He is currently suing the city for $35 million, saying he has been harassed since exposing his fellow cops at the precinct. (Incidentally, his lawyer is Joe Murray, who challenged and lost to Melinda Katz in this year’s district attorney’s race.)
Lee is still on the force, but is setting his sights on elected office and is hoping to raise money and build momentum before the June 23rd primary next year.
And another elected official from northeast Queens will face a challenger next year, but this time from the other side of the aisle.
George Anthony Devolder Santos will run against Congressman Tom Suozzi. Devolder Santos (although he prefers to refer to himself as George Anthony on his website) grew up in Queens, the son of Brazilian immigrants.
His mother is the daughter of Belgian immigrants who fled World War II Europe for South American. She met George Anthony’s father in the United States after they both emigrated separately as young adults.
According to his website, he is bullish on issues currently in fashion with the Republican Party.
He claims to be a strong supporter of the Second Amendment (“The right to self defense is one of the most basic and critical rights people are endowed with and I will protect the people’s right to keep and bear arms from being infringed.”) and border security.
He’s also a supporter of charter schools and expanding nuclear power as a source of energy.
Lee and Devolder Santos are just a couple of the political newcomers who will be looking to unseat incumbents next year, but we expect there to be numerous others announcing their candidacies in the coming months. Soon we’ll discuss Michael Hiller, a Democrat who will be running against Congresswoman Yvette Clarke