September 29, 2008.

Ex-Rivals in Queens Speak of Party Unity

Albert J. Baldeo, a lawyer, unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for the State Senate in Queens. (Photos: Rob Bennett for The New York Times)

Not too many months ago, Albert J. Baldeo was a candidate for a State Senate seat in Queens and locked into a bitter feud with not only the Queens Democratic Party, but also with its choice for the nomination: City Councilman Joseph P. Addabbo Jr.

At the time, Mr. Baldeo was challenging one of the most venerable Republican leaders in New York City: State Senator Serphin R. Maltese. Two years ago, Mr. Baldeo came with about 900 votes — about 2 percentage points — of defeating Mr. Maltese. He ran again this year but was shunned by the party organization, which supported Mr. Addabbo for the Democratic nomination.

These days, there is no more criticism from Mr. Baldeo of the party for what he once called its “cronyism” and for running “an old boys club.” Mr. Baldeo, who withdrew and endorsed the councilman from the race shortly before the Sept. 9 primary, has now more than embraced the candidacy of Mr. Addabbo and speaks of the importance “of all of us working together as a united Democratic party.”

This week, Mr. Baldeo will be playing host to a fund-raising event for Mr. Addabbo’s campaign at his law office in the Richmond Hill section of Queens. What’s more, Mr. Baldeo said he is making a significant amount of his office space available to the Addabbo campaign.

“I want to show that I’m throwing my full support and my resources behind Councilman Addabbo,” Mr. Baldeo said in an interview on Monday morning. “I want to make clear that I’m not offering lukewarm support.What’s at stake is bigger than my own personal interest. We’re trying to keep our eye on the prize and that’s for the Democrats to recapture control of the Senate.”

City Councilman Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. is the Democratic nominee challenging State Senator Serphin R. Maltese, a Republican.

So, what’s in it for Mr. Baldeo?

“There is no quid pro quo here,” Mr. Baldeo said. “There may have been some misunderstandings in the past between myself and the county organization. But I think they mean well and I want to work with them. I want us to develop a relationship with county so that we can all work together.”

Mr. Baldeo was then asked whether he might have an interesting in running for office again. “Certainly,” he said. “Would I appreciate their support? Certainly. Do I expect good well from helping the party. Well, it stands to reason that someone loyal to the party would be rewarded. But for now, I’m focused on the success of the party. “

In the interview, Mr. Baldeo said he lives in the district represented by Assemblyman Anthony S. Seminerio, who is now the target of a federal corruption case. But he did not specify the position he might wish to seek.

Michael H. Reich, the organization’s executive secretary, said that the support of Mr. Baldeo in the Addabbo campaign was appreciated.

“We welcome the support of all Democrats all over the county to help elect people who will represent Queens County,” Mr. Reich said. “And we look forward to the support of Albert Baldeo in this important and crucial State Senate election.”





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