Tony Avella Says He Will Raise Six Figures to Fend Off John Liu

State Senator Tony Avella. (Screengrab: NY1)

State Senator Tony Avella last night. (Screengrab: NY1)

Cash doesn’t rule everything around him.

But State Senator Tony Avella, who proudly advertises his aversion to fund-raising, said last night he will definitely raise six figures to take on his well-heeled challenger, John Liu. Mr. Avella needs to start raising cash quickly–his campaign account currently has less than $3,000, a paltry sum for an incumbent.

“I don’t spend my time fund-raising and I’m probably the only person who doesn’t do that in politics,” Mr. Avella said on NY1’s Inside City Hall. “I’m raising money now, we have commitments to $100,000 by the next filing. I’ll raise whatever’s necessary but I don’t spend all day on the phone raising money because that’s not my job.”

Mr. Avella, an outspoken lawmaker who recently joined a group of breakaway Democrats that govern the State Senate with the GOP, called Mr. Liu’s bid “unfortunate” and charged once again that Mr. Liu’s candidacy is little more than a Queens Democratic Party ploy to drive him out of his office.

“I think it’s unfortunate that the Democratic Party bosses are trying to disenfranchise the candidate this district has elected time and time again,” he said.

The Queens Democratic Party urged Mr. Liu, a former comptroller and mayoral contender, to run against Mr. Avella after he defected to the Independent Democratic Conference. Mr. Avella said he joined the IDC to move more legislation and bring additional resources to his northeast Queens district, but Queens Democrats attacked him for betraying the party by joining a faction that they say empowers a Republican majority.

Mr. Liu, whose mayoral bid flopped after a fund-raising scandal, kicked off his campaign last week. He has already garnered the support of several unions and is expected to aggressively fund-raise for the race.

But Mr. Avella vowed last night he’d up a strong fight.

“I will, don’t worry,” he said, laughing.

Mr. Liu’s campaign ripped Mr. Avella as a “Republican darling.”

“Republican darling Tony Avella is the only candidate who is disenfranchising the Democratic voters who elected him after he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Democratic leaders he is now shamelessly attacking,” said James Freedland, a spokesman for Mr. Liu.

“Queens Democrats have moved past Avella’s bitterness and self-serving politics, that’s why progressive Democrat John Liu is earning the unprecedented support of grassroots activists, labor unions and community leaders in his first week on the campaign trail,” he added.

Tony Avella Says He Will Raise Six Figures to Fend Off John Liu