One of the major candidates who ran in the special election the fill the vacant seat of former councilman and now state Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Rockaway), Jacques Leandre, announced his concession to supporters and staff Tuesday night in his office. Leandre came in third place but said that his numbers were higher than when he ran for the same seat in 2009.
A lawyer and founder of the Rosedale Jets Football Association, Leandre was one of eight candidates who hoped to fill the vacant council seat of the 31st District, which includes the Rockaways, Laurelton, Springfield Gardens, and Rosedale.
He thanked the nearly 30 supporters and staff who congregated in his lobby “for all the work you've done.
“I still feel we had the best campaign,” he said. “We ran a very smart and hard campaign.”
He also urged them to get behind whoever the winner is. As of Wednesday afternoon, that was still up in the air [see separate story].
“Whoever wins this race, we're going to have to support 100 percent,” Leandre said. “This is a community that we love, that we want to see better.”
He also promised “I can guarantee, irrespective of the win, I'm going to work harder now to ensure that we have a community we can be proud of, that we can all live in and be happy about.”
Leandre remarked that the recent snowstorm didn't make campaigning easier and may have contributed to his loss.
“Anytime you have to go out there in zero degree weather and campaigning, it's going to bring certain dynamics that make it challenging to everyone,” he said.
Leandre caused a stir in the race when he sued six of the other candidates, challenging the validity of their petition signatures. He soon dropped the case.
“What we did is exactly what president Obama did in 1996 when he became the state senator of Illinois,” Leandre said after taking criticism for the move. “You, as a candidate, have the right to authenticate and verify signatures. It's a process. We're in a fight. You can't send a pussycat into the jungle. You've gotta send in a lion.”
As for whether a third run is possible, Leandre said on Tuesday, “I would have to sit down with my wife and have a discussion.”