Donovan Richards, former chief of staff for now-state Sen. James Sanders Jr., has declared himself the winner in the race to succeed Sanders on the City Council.
After leading Pesach Osina, a candidate from Far Rockaway and an aide to Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Far Rockaway), by 26 votes on election night, Richards gained 133 votes in Wednesday’s counting of absentee ballots while Osina gained 80 votes, expanding Richards’ lead to 79 votes, wide enough to avoid an automatic recount.
Richards declared victory immediately after the votes were counted and reached out to his opponent on Twitter.
“Congrats to Pesach Osina on a well-run campaign. I look forward to working with you for the betterment of our community,” he said.
Goldfeder, who appeared with Osina on election night, congratulated Richards Wednesday afternoon.
“Congrats Donovan Richards on a well-run campaign and victory!” Goldfeder said on Twitter. “We are going to do great things for the Rockaways together!”
The race to succeed Sanders, who was elected to the state Senate in November and resigned his seat on the Council included eight candidates — seven of whom were black. Osina had strong support among the Orthodox Jewish population of the district centered in Far Rockaway. The 31st District includes Far Rockaway, Arverne, Bayswater and Edgemere on the Rockaway Peninsula as well as JFK Airport, Laurelton, Rosedale and Springfield Gardens.
The city Board of Elections has yet to certify the results and is expected to do so next week.