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Vittoria Fariello drops out of state Senate race versus Brian Kavanagh

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | After giving state Senator Brian Kavanagh a strong challenge in 2022, Vittoria Fariello said she planned to run for the Lower Manhattan seat again. And she did — at least for a while.

But Fariello, who is a district leader, the lowest elected political office, last month withdrew from the race for District 27, which covers most of Manhattan south of 14th Street.

The Democratic primary election for state Senate will be held this June 25.

“The decision was based on personal considerations, as well as the fact that [campaign] matching funds would not be disbursed before May,” Fariello told The Village Sun.

In an e-mail to supporters, she wrote, in part: “After much consideration, I have decided to suspend my campaign for New York State Senate District 27. …

“I am not going anywhere. I will continue to uplift your voices and push for the changes we need in our communities.

“I discussed my decision with the incumbent, Senator Brian Kavanagh. We had a meaningful conversation and I trust he will focus on legislation critical to our community, including a fair and far-overdue Good Cause Eviction law, more inclusive and democratic New York City Housing Authority legislation, and finally ending the 24-hour workday for our home [healthcare] attendants.

“I look forward to continuing working with him and all of our elected officials to address these and other issues important to Downtown New Yorkers.”

Fariello won 30 percent of the vote in the last election, despite Kavanagh out-fundraising her by $400,000 to $70,000. Fariello didn’t even send out a mailer to voters.

Local politicos, for their part, chalked Fariello’s dropping out this time to Kavanagh basically doing a better job at putting himself out there. During the last election, Fariello had campaigned aggressively on a pledge to be more “in the trenches,” as in, more present and active on community issues, than the incumbent.

However, since then, to hear other Downtown Democrats tell it, Kavanagh has made an effort to up his game.

“He isn’t doing anything wrong,” Arthur Schwartz, a Greenwich Village district leader, said of Kavanagh. He added that the veteran Albany politician just isn’t always the best at promoting himself, but is doing better on that now.

In the last election, a number of local Democratic political clubs backed upstart Fariello’s challenge against Kavanagh, including Village Independent Democrats, Downtown Independent Democrats, Grand Street Democrats and New Downtown Democrats. Kavanagh, meanwhile, in 2022 had the backing of only Chinatown’s United Democratic Organization and the East Village’s Coalition for a District Alternative.

This time around, though, Kavanagh was getting the nod of the political clubs as Fariello suddenly found herself snubbed.

Retired judge and former Councilmember Kathryn Freed was high on Fariello the last time around. She said it’s true that most of the Democratic political clubs were “unhappy with Brian” back then. But she agreed that Kavanagh now is “doing better.”

“Well, he is,” she said. “He got the message.”

“They were going for the same voters,” a former local candidate observed of Kavanagh and Fariello, requesting anonymity.

Meanwhile, Kavanagh will have a challenger on the ballot in June. Ursila Jung, who describes herself as a “public school advocate, angel investor and full-time mom,” is winning support among some voters who want more done to address local crime and quality-of-life issues.

Jung ran for City Council last year in Lower Manhattan’s District 1, winning 5 percent of the vote in the primary election. Councilmember Christopher Marte won the primary with 63 percent of the vote, on the way to reelection, while Susan Lee came in second with 31 percent.

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