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Liu to run for Comptroller

By Marlene Naanes

Another member of the City Council joined the increasingly crowded city Comptroller race yesterday, rounding out the pool of official candidates to four.

Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) announced his candidacy on the City Hall steps with a wall of supporters chanting behind him. His candidacy announcement noted the historic significance of being the first Asian American to run for citywide office.

“I’m going to be that independent watchdog for our city’s finances,” said Liu, who before being elected to the City Council in 2001, was a PriceWaterhouseCoopers manager. “I’m going to be a pit bull.”

Liu joins fellow council members Melinda Katz (D-Forest Hills), David Weprin (D-Hollis/Jamaica) and David Yassky (D-Brooklyn) in the running for the city’s chief financial officer. Liu had been vying to be Public Advocate, and a spokeswoman for his campaign said the switch had more to do with wanting to help the city through the tough economy than the highly-contested advocate race, which includes former Public Advocate Mark Green.“In this difficult time, he’s ready and willing to step up to advocate for all [New Yorkers] ... it doesn’t change with the office,” said the spokeswoman, Chung Seto.

Current comptroller, Bill Thompson, said he will not seek re-election and has chosen instead to run for mayor.

Some of Liu’s competitors zeroed in on the candidacy shift yesterday, including the Katz campaign, which said the city’s chief financial officer post is the councilman’s second choice.

“I look forward to speaking with communities in all corners of the city to demonstrate why I’m the best candidate for this critical office, which has always been — and will continue to be — my first choice,” said Katz, who also worked as a business and securities attorney.

Yassky, who was also a corporate attorney, said the outcome of the comptroller’s race will be important to the city during the next decade.

Meanwhile, Weprin said Liu joining the race does not affect him.

“I’ve been running for controller for the last four years,” said Weprin, who has worked in the banking and financial services industry.

Andrew Breiner contributed to this report.

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