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Progressive Candidate Juan Ardila Wins 37th Assembly Seat

Juan Ardila, Candidate Forum for 37th District Assembly Race (Photos by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Juan Ardila won the Democratic primary for the 37th District Assembly Race (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

June 29, 2022 By Czarinna Andres

Juan Ardila, a Maspeth native and the only progressive in the race, has won the Democratic primary for the Assembly District 37 seat that covers Long Island City, Maspeth, Ridgewood and Sunnyside.

Ardila, who was backed by a number of high-profile progressives such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, won 44 percent of the vote in a race where the three other more-moderate candidates split the vote.

Brent O’Leary brought in 26 percent of the vote; Johanna Carmona 20 percent; and Jim Magee 10 percent.

The candidates were vying for a vacant seat that Assembly Member Cathy Nolan has held for 37 years. Nolan announced earlier this year that she is retiring and did not seek re-election.

Juan Ardila wins the Democratic primary for the 37th Assembly District with 44 percent of the vote (Source: Board of Elections)

Ardila, a staffer at the Legal Aid Society who had worked in Brad Lander’s council office, ran a campaign focused on issues such as affordable housing and climate change.

“I’m running for State Assembly because Queens residents deserve affordable housing, improved public transit, and a plan to combat climate change,” he said when he announced his run. “In Albany, I will be a champion for our seniors, our workers, and our tenants. I am excited to fight for a better future for all New Yorkers.”

Ardila had an impressive list of endorsements including Ocasio-Cortez, City Comptroller Brad Lander, State Senator Jessica Ramos, State Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz, City Council Members Tiffany Cabán, Shekar Krishnan and Jennifer Gutiérrez, and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards. There were many others.

He also got the backing of the New York Working Families Party, which issued a statement shortly after his victory became apparent.

“We’re thrilled to celebrate Juan Ardila’s victory tonight,” said Sochie Nnaemeka, the director of the New York Working Families Party. “Juan will be a strong voice for working families in the 37th Assembly District. Our party worked shoulder-to-shoulder with the campaign to contact voters and elevate the critical issues in this race. We’re looking forward to partnering with Juan to strengthen tenant protections, protect immigrant New Yorkers, and win guaranteed health care for all.”

The campaign had energy, with Ramos and Cruz out campaigning for him on Skillman Avenue Tuesday.

Ardila, who unsuccessfully ran last year against Bob Holden in the Council District 30 seat, did overcome some obstacles. He was subject to negative mailers from the lobby group called Common Sense New Yorkers, which was funded by big business, that accused him of wanting to defund the police. He was also subject to criticism over his driving record—where he racked up multiple violations—and some social media postings that date back to his teenage years.

The race represented another blow for Brent O’Leary, a community organizer and attorney, who had made two other attempts to be in political office.

O’Leary, a Long Island City resident, ran unsuccessfully for city council last year as well as in 2008.

He came to the race with a long history of community organizing in the area. He formed the Hunters Point Civic Association a decade ago and is a member of the Sunnyside Kiwanis and the Long Island City Lions Club. He is also the board president at Woodside On the Move.

But O’Leary was one of three moderates running in the race.

Carmona, an attorney and lifelong Sunnysider, fared well for a political newcomer. She had the backing of Nolan, the Ridgewood Democratic Club, as well as from Rep. Gregory Meeks and a number of assemblymembers from across the city. She was also supported by the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York.

Meanwhile, Magee, a private practice attorney and also a political newcomer, called for the bail reform laws to be changed and for taxing the wealthy as a means to address the disparity in the state. The lifelong Sunnysider issued a statement late last night.

“I’ve called Juan Ardila and congratulated him on a well-earned victory. And Johanna Carmona and Brent O’Leary on a hard-fought race.”

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11 Comments

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Gary C.

I hope we see Carmona run for something else soon. We need more genuine, talented, and caring people like her in office.

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MRLIC

MRLIC does not need a wellness check. The people who Voted for this Democratic Socialist and his parking biolations tecord where he claimed he did not own a car, yet he was seen getting in and out of the same car on video. Sure he will make a solid candidate. Yeah Right! These people need the wellness check who voted for A AOC backed Socialist Democrat
Read some of the other comments
about Mr. Ardila. I am not the only one who thinls he os the wrong choice ..

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JR

You have commented on this post 5 times now!! Go touch some grass or pet a dog or something man.

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Chas

He won’t be very productive. As a new member he will have very little say in anything. Also the amount of money he will be given for the district will be much smaller than other members. Based on his parking record alone, I give him 1 term unless he screws up and is forced to resign. Having left the district for good 1 year ago , I feel bad for the residents who derserve quality leadership.
Good Luck

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MRLIC

Is Mr. Ardila part of Biden’ s New Liberal World Order ? I guess district 37 wants to lose their freedoms. I know there was a low turn out for voting that day. Does anyone look into the candidates and what they stand for? I can’ t believe the onlyso called socialist in the race won.. Just Dumb.As I said before people in this district when rhings hapoen you do notlike, and they will. Look in the mirror and say to yourself you caused these things tp hapoen because you voted A $o called “”Progrrssive ” which actually means Socialist into office should he win the general rlection in November. People Like Mr. Ardila and AOC usually do well with low voter turn out.. Please Remember that please

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MRLIC

Get ready for a lot of dumb things to come from Democratic Socialist Juan Ardila AOC backed candidate cannot be a good thing. Others backed by her lost I read.
District 37 must have a lot of Dempcratic Socialists in it They fit the tetm DUMB- O- CRATS for voting for him in tje primary. When things go south they will have no one to blame but themselves .

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MRLIC

Why did voters vote for this Democratic Socialist backed by zAOC. All losers and Anti Americans.. Do not complain when nothing is done about crime getting worse. Socialists like AOC wamt to defund thebpolice. Ardila will probably do the same.

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MRLIC

Why would anyone want Juan Ardila A Democratic Socialist to win. Backed by other Democratic Socialists such as Far left idiot AOC far left idiot T. Caban. plastic bag ban guy Brad Lander another dem Socialist., The Left wing Working Families Party who backs all these radical Socialists.
Anyone who complaons about crime in Dist 387 or the rest of the citu has no one to blame but themselves for voting on a Socialist loser like Ardila.
Nothing will change and crime will get worse. He is part of the problem ad is Hochul

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Katie MV

Than you Sunnyside for taking this guy off our hands. Katie from Middle Village

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