NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens) defeated former New York City Comptroller and mayoral candidate John Liu in the Democratic primary for the state’s 11th Senate District Tuesday night.

According to unofficial returns, with almost all precincts reporting, Avella had 52 percent of the vote, to Liu’s 48 percent. The district covers parts of northeast Queens.

Avella, a former member of the New York City Council, was first elected to the state Senate in 2010. He’s a member of the Independent Democratic Caucus, a group of breakaway Democrats who share control of the Senate with Republicans.

Liu is also a former member of the City Council. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor against Bill de Blasio in the Democratic primary for that office last year.

During that campaign, two of Liu’s former aides were accused in a campaign finance scheme. Liu campaign treasurer Jia “Jenny” Hou and fundraiser Xing “Oliver” Wu Pan were later convicted for illegally raising funds.

Both Avella and Liu had gotten support from the city’s unions.

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