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Queens Chronicle

Clark and Meeks pick up easy wins

Both lawmakers gear up for another term; Sanders secures senate victory

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Posted: Thursday, November 8, 2012 10:30 am

It was an easy victory for Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) and Assemblywoman Barbara Clark (D-Queens Village), both of whom are retaining their respective seats after Tuesday’s election.

Meeks claimed 146,278 votes or 89.7 of the ballots, according to unofficial results by NY1. Republican challenger Allan Jennings came in a distant second with 15,640 or 9.59 percent, followed by Libertarian contender Catherine Wark with 1,161 or 0.7 percent.

“We take every election very seriously, no matter who the challenger,” Candace Sandy, a spokeswoman for Meeks said Wednesday.

In a conference call with reporters that same day, Meeks said election night was good for the Democrats, citing the re-election of President Obama and noting that Dems hold the majority in the Senate and picked up eight to 10 seats in the House. Meeks was also happy to have gained an eighth term in office.

“I’m thrilled that the people in the 5th Congressional District are confident in the work I’m doing and that they have given me this resounding victory,” he said. “I don’t take that lightly. It’s a lot of responsibility, especially with the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.”

Looking ahead to his new term in office, Meeks said he would focus on job creation, improvements to education, foreclosure prevention and providing disaster recovery assistance to those impacted by the storm.

Clark triumphed over challenger Clyde Vanel taking 31,718 or 89.37 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results, to Vanel’s 3,771 or 10.63 percent.

The incumbent slammed her opponent Monday, though she did not mention him by name, stating that he had coaxed constituents, particularly the elderly to bombard her office with post-Sandy complaint calls, something that did not happen to her colleague City Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens), who represents part of the same district, she said.

“It’s a tactic designed to excite a whole slew of people,” Clark said. “I don’t know anything that annoys me more than people taking advantage of people and getting them riled up for political gain.”

Vanel denied the accusation.

“That’s absolutely false,” Vanel said Wednesday. “It’s unfortunate that the Assemblywoman would think that. Why would I do that? I try to help where I can. My office got a lot of phone calls too.”

Vanel vowed to remain active in the district and spoke about how his campaign office was coordinating efforts to help Hurricane Sandy victims and also acts as a community center.

“I congratulate Clark on a great win. She got nearly 90 percent of the vote,” Vanel said. “It’s difficult to beat an incumbent on the Democratic line in New York City. I still think I ran a good campaign.”

Without a challenger, City Councilman James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton) secured his presumptive win of the 10th Senate District seat against incumbent state Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica). In the September primary, Sanders claimed 57.1 percent of the votes, while Huntley came in second with 39.9 percent and activist Gian Jones was in last place with 3 percent.

A special election to fill Sanders’ council seat will be held in March. It is a three-way race between his chief of staff, Donovan Richards and lawyers Jaques Leandre and Ernest Flowers.

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