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Four Candidates File Petitions for Wide Open Assembly District 37 Race

State Assembly District 37 candidates (clockwise from top left) Juan Ardila, Jim Magee, Brent O’Leary and Johanna Carmona (Photos courtesy of respective campaigns)

April 7, 2022 By Allie Griffin 

Four candidates are hoping to secure a victory in a Queens state assembly race that has been left wide open by the retiring incumbent.

Candidates Juan Ardila, Johanna Carmona, Jim Magee and Brent O’Leary have all filed petitions to appear on the ballot for the Democratic primary for the Assembly District 37 seat. The deadline to file was the end of Thursday.

The seat represents Long Island City, Maspeth, Ridgewood and Sunnyside and will be vacant for the first time in decades since the incumbent, Assembly Member Cathy Nolan, plans to retire at the end of the year after being in office for 37 years.

The candidates needed to collect at least 500 signatures from registered Democrats who live in the district to get on the ballot for the June 28 primary.

At least three of the four have secured more than double the number of required signatures ahead of the deadline.

Jim Magee going door to door gathering signatures. He secured more than 1,100 signatures (Photo courtesy of Magee)

According to the candidates themselves, Ardila has collected about 1,500 signatures, Magee has secured more than 1,100 signatures and O’Leary has garnered 1,300 signatures.

Carmona didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry as to how many signatures she collected.

Candidates typically gather significantly more signatures than what’s required in case the validity of those signatures are challenged. For instance, a signature would be invalid if the person is not a registered Democrat or has signed another candidate’s petition.

Meanwhile, a fifth prospective candidate, Vlad Pavlyuk, who had previously announced he planned to run for the 37th Assembly District has dropped out of the race. Instead, he is running for the State Committee seat, he told the Queens Post.

While still early, several endorsements have already begun to pile up in the assembly race.

Retiring incumbent Nolan has endorsed Carmona, an attorney and Sunnyside resident, to be her successor. The candidate, who previously worked as an assistant district attorney in the special victims bureau with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, has also been endorsed by the Ridgewood Democratic Club.

Brent O’Leary at the Board of Election (Courtesy of Brent O’Leary)

Ardila, who is a staffer at the Legal Aid Society, has racked up a number of progressive endorsements, such as State Senator Jessica Ramos, State Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz, City Council Members Tiffany Cabán and Jennifer Gutiérrez, former Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the Working Families Party, DC37, New York Immigration Action, Make the Road Action, Open New York, Community Voices Heard (CVH), Churches United For Fair Housing Action (CUFFH) and local Democratic leaders including Emilia Decaudin, Jesse Laymon, and Derek Evers.

O’Leary, a longtime community organizer and attorney, has been endorsed by the 504 Democratic Club, which represents Democrats with disabilities, and Magee, a private practice attorney, has been endorsed by the New York State Court Officers Union.

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