It was around midnight that Donovan Richards claimed victory in Tuesday’s special election for the 31st City Council District, but with only 26 votes separating him and his hottest rival, Pesach Osina, the ultimate outcome is anything but certain.
The race, with Osina, an Orthodox Jew, and seven black candidates vying to fill until January the position left vacant after James Sanders Jr. (D-Rockaway) was elected to the state Senate in the fall, is likely to remain up in the air for a while, as absentee ballots and emergency affidavits were yet to be counted, and talk of a re-count emerged even as Richards’ supporters celebrated.
The race to serve out the last 10 months of now-state Sen. James Sanders Jr.’s term on the City Council is down to the wire, with only a couple dozen votes separating the top two contenders, according to the candidates and reporting in the Daily News.
Candidates in the 31st District City Council race tackled tough questions about job creation, education and crime at a debate held Feb. 7 at St. Luke’s Church in Laurelton.
The event, sponsored by the Federated Blocks of Laurelton, was the second of its kind to be held before the Feb. 19 special election. The winner will fill the post vacated by James Sanders Jr. after he won a bid for state Senate, and will serve out the rest of his term, which ends on Dec. 31.
It was supposed to be an evening for the community to hear the positions of candidates in the 31st District City Council race, but a lot of the forum, held Tuesday night in Laurelton, was spent grilling one contender for his decision to sue several of his opponents, challenging the validity of their signatures and attempting to get them thrown off the ballot.
Rosedale attorney Jacques Leandre filed, and later dropped, lawsuits against his opponents Mike Duncan, Donovan Richards, Earnest Flowers, Allan Jennings and Selvena Brooks. He pursued the action against Marie Adam-Ovide, but a judge decided in her favor. He did not challenge the remaining candidates, Saywalah Kesselly and Pesach Osina.
It’s all about education and youth for Saywalah Kesselly, a political newcomer who is vying for the 31st District City Council seat to replace James Sanders Jr., who won a bid for state Senate. Kesselly calls himself a troubleshooter and a problem solver and says he was motivated to seek elected office because he is tired of the status quo.
Kesselly, a married father of three who lives in Far Rockaway, is the founder and executive director of the African Center for Community Empowerment in St. Albans, a nonprofit organization that serves youth and families in Southeast Queens. But his educational background is in finance, accounting and economics.
Three candidates in the special election for the 31st District City Council seat have taken a stand against what they call unfair tactics employed by one of the competitors, who has gone to court to keep them and others off the ballot.
Rosedale attorney and candidate Jacques Leandre has filed lawsuits in Queens Supreme Court challenging the validity of the signatures of six of the other eight candidates in the race — Mike Duncan, Marie Adam-Ovide, Earnest Flowers, Donovan Richards, Selvena Brooks and Allan Jennings — for the Feb. 19 special election to replace James Sanders Jr., who was elected to the state Senate. The candidates needed to submit 450 signatures by the Jan. 15 deadline to get on the ballot.
The race for the 31st District City Council seat vacated by James Sanders Jr. is pretty crowded, with nine candidates on the ballot for the Feb. 19 special election. Sanders resigned from his council post after winning a bid for state Senate.
Those competing in the race are Donovan Richards, Sanders’ former chief of staff; Marie Adam-Ovide, the district manager of Community Board 8; Jacques Leandre, a lawyer and founder of the Rosedale Jets Football Association; Earnest Flowers, who runs a communications and marketing firm; Mike Duncan, a community activist; Selvena Brooks, a public relations specialist; Pesach Osina, community liaison for Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Far Rockaway); Saywalah Kesselly, executive director at the African Center for Community Empowerment in Jamaica; and former City Councilman Allan Jennings.
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.
Democrats appeared to retake control of the state Senate Tuesday, as Republicans failed to win a Queens race they had poured resources into and may have lost several other tight contests around New York.
The likely changeover from GOP control would be one more victory for the party that saw President Obama re-elected and solidified its control of the U.S. Senate even as it lost a few more seats in the House of Representatives.
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) easily claimed victory in the Democratic primary Tuesday for the 5th Congressional District seat, racking up more than 67 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results from the Board of Elections.
Meeks triumphed over competitors Mike Scala, a recent law school graduate; Joseph Marthone, a small business owner; and Allan Jennings, a former city councilman.
Candidates seen as the front runners in congressional primaries across Queens — whether incumbent lawmakers or party establishment choices — all won their nominations by wide margins Tuesday, according to preliminary results.
Democrats in much of Queens — and Republicans across the entire borough — will go to the polls June 26 to vote in primaries for their party’s nominees for Congress.
On the Republican side, the race pits U.S. Rep. Bob Turner (R-Queens, Brooklyn) against Manhattan attorney Wendy Long and Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, who each are seeking the nomination to run against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) for a full six-year term. Republicans across the state will be voting in the primary.
He’s a political newcomer, but Mike Scala, a law school graduate and hip-hop artist, believes he has what it takes to win the newly formed 5th Congressional District seat. It consists largely of Rep. Gregory Meeks’ (D-Jamaica) old 6th Congressional District, which the lawmaker has represented since 1998. In addition to Meeks, Scala is facing small business owner Joseph Marthone and former City Councilman Allan Jennings in the Democratic primary.
“I’m just somebody from the community who is frustrated with what’s been happening in Washington,” Scala said in an interview with the Queens Chronicle on Monday. “I feel like the needs of everyday people are going unserved while the focus remains on the wealthiest Americans.”
Just after 10:30 p.m., a campaign office in Rochdale Village erupted in applause and chants of “Ruben, Ruben,” as City Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) claimed victory in the 28th District Democratic Primary, easily defeating three other contenders with 67 percent of the vote and effectively winning the election in the deeply blue community.
The lawmaker was surrounded by friends, family, supporters and several fellow elected officials, whom he thanked for helping him ensure victory in a race that at times got ugly due to the bad blood between Wills and opponent Allan Jennings, who had held the seat from 2002 to 2006.
Ruben Wills, left, will take on Michael Duvalle, Allan Jennings, Clifton Stanley Diaz, Stephen Jones and the Rev. David Kayode in the race for the 28th District City Council seat.
Five prospective candidates will compete in the Sept. 13 Democratic primary for the 28th District seat held by City Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica). They are: Clifton Stanley Diaz, Michael Duvalle, Stephen Jones, Allan Jennings and the Rev. David Kayode.
Wills won the seat in a November 2010 special election held to replace the late City Councilman Thomas White Jr. who died earlier that year from cancer. The district includes the neighborhoods of Jamaica, Rochdale Village, Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park.
At a loss for words and on the verge of tears, Ruben Wills celebrated a City Council win with supporters at his campaign office on Liberty Avenue in Richmond Hill. Wills beat six other contenders to claim the District 28 seat long held by the late Tom White Jr.
Things are getting ugly.
Allan Jennings PHOTO BY ANNMARIE COSTELLA
Former City Councilman Allan Jennings, who held the District 28 seat from 2002 to 2006, is trying to get his old job back, but his checkered past, which includes being censured for sexually harassing female staffers, placing newspaper ads professing his love of Asian women, and throwing a metal object at a reporter on live television, may deter voters from casting their ballots in his favor.
What started out as a “respectful” public arena for seven candidates hoping to replace late City Councilman Thomas White Jr. turned into a tag-team shouting match with two questioners and their mother on one side — and the event’s hosts on the other.
Albert Baldeo, an attorney from Ozone Park, says he’s not running for City Council because he wants a new job, but because he has the skills to effect change and the experience to understand the community and its problems.
Several candidates who had planned to compete for the 28th District City Council seat formerly held by the late Tom White Jr. have dropped out of the race, according to the city’s Campaign Finance Board.
Surrounded by supporters holding signs with the slogan “Vote a better way,” Ruben Wills announced his bid for the City Council seat of the late Tom White Jr., who died earlier this month of cancer at the age of 71.
There appears to be no shortage of people vying for the seat vacated by the late City Councilman Tom White Jr., but you would never know it because the majority of them haven’t made a peep about their campaigns or their plans for the community. With the election a little over a month away, one can’t help but wonder — what are they waiting for?