From City Hall:
Avella watchers used to remark about what a tin-ear the outgoing Bayside Council member had for the most basic political necessities. But running for mayor may turn out to be one of the savviest moves an obscure New York politician has made in a long time. Few outside his district or among some hard-core issue advocates had ever heard of Tony Avella a few months ago. Now, he has stood toe-to-toe with Democratic nominee Bill Thompson at a debate, and television cameras followed him when he went to vote on Primary Day.
“This may surprise you, but I’m actually a pretty modest guy,” Avella says, denying that running for mayor was ever about raising his profile. “That wasn’t the intent. The intent was to win.”
Still, Avella could remain a serious contender for an office like public advocate, especially if the eventual winner of the run-off runs for mayor in four years, as expected. Alternatively, his Council district overlaps with Frank Padavan’s State Senate district, and many expect him to finally make his long-expected run at that seat, especially as confidence wanes in Jim Gennaro’s interest in taking another crack at it himself.
Many Albany Democrats, however, dread the prospect of Avella, who spent eight years stirring up trouble on the usually unified Council. In Albany, where backroom deals are common practice and where wildcards have been known to bring the machinery of state government to a standstill, the last thing they need, perhaps, is Avella gumming up the works.
There are other roles, whether turning himself into a Henry Stern-type government critic or trying to hoist himself on the kind of movement-in-exile that has grown out of the scattered supporters of Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign.