In NYC, 25-yr.-old Unites LGBTs with Challenge to State Senator
In a speech before the crowd, Nunes promised that with their support, Huntley would go the way of George Onorato and Hiram Monserrate, two other Queens senators who voted against the same-sex marriage bill last year and will not be back in 2011. (Onorato is retiring, Monserrate was expelled and lost his special election bid to return to the Senate).
“We’re here to send Shirley Huntley home, and every other senator who won’t vote for marriage equality,” Nunes said.
The 25-year-old Nunes may just have a legitimate chance in his battle to knock off an incumbent, thanks to gay marriage backers.
Fight Back New York, a political action committee is giving him their financial support.
Danny Dromm, an openly gay Council member from Queens and a prominent gay advocacy leader has said he became convinced Nunes would be viable during a February phone call in which Nunes described his strategy for unseating Huntley. He believes Nunes has "an innate" sense of statistical strategy.
Conversely, among Huntley's supporters Nunes is seen as a mere political opportunist.
“I think Lynn Nunes is going down the wrong road,” said Council Member Leroy Comrie, a Huntley ally. “He is taking advantage of a singular opportunity presented by something that is not a big deal in that district.”
This summer, Nunes will spend his time knocking on doors and speaking with the people In the southeast Queens district : the streets of Jamaica and Springfield Gardens, which are lined with socially conservative black churches. Huntley says she voted against the gay marriage bill in 2009 because she knew it was hugely unpopular with these African-American churches, their clergy, and its congregation. But Nunes says he would instead run on issues such as the district’s highest-inthe-country foreclosure rate and its overcrowded classrooms, which he believes Huntley has not fully addressed.
As for the charges of opportunism, Nunes notes that he has long been a supporter of same-sex marriage, even filling out a candidate survey expressing his support for the cause and seeking the endorsement of the Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens during his Council campaign.
“I was a supporter of gay marriage even when it wasn’t going to help me,” Nunes said.
Nunes will also receive funding from Charter-School Advocacy groups; and Huntely will find herself on shaky ground with the education lobbies.
Nunes will also try to tap into votes from the concentrated LGBT population in Forest Hills.
After coming up four votes short last year, Nunes said he would leave no stone unturned this time, as he had learned the hard lesson of winner-takes-all, loser-takes-nothing.
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Flushing, New York, United States