Brooks-Powers leads Osina in 31st District 1

Selvena Brooks-Powers, left, and Pesach Osina crushed the field in Tuesday’s special election for the 31st Council District. Ranked-choice selections will determine the winner.

Two Rockaway residents ran away from the field on Tuesday in the special election in the City Council’s 31st District.

In unofficial results from the city’s Board of Elections on Wednesday afternoon, Selvena Brooks-Powers was leading, with 2,613 votes and 38.07 percent of the vote with 97.78 percent of the votes counted.

She was 207 ahead of Pesach Osina, who had 2,406 and just over 35 percent.

Of the remaining seven candidate, only Manny Silva, with 694 votes, broke the 10 percent barrier or even came near it at this point in the process.

The Board of Elections will begin counting absentee ballots and assigning ranked-choice votes on March 10.

Under ranked-choice voting, in which voters can select up to five candidates in preferred order, the lowest-ranking candidates are knocked off the ballot one by one and their votes are reassigned according to the individual voters’ preference until one candidate secures more than 50 percent of the vote.

Brooks-Powers, who was supported by the leadership of the Queens Democratic Party, was sounding like she was claiming victory in a press release.

“I am truly humbled by the support we have received, and we’re confident that once every vote has been counted, I will be the next Councilwoman,” she said. “I want to thank all those who voted today and participated in our democracy, and I want to thank all of my supporters who made this possible.”

Osina narrowly lost a special election for the seat in 2013 to now-Queens Borough President Donovan Richards. The seat has been vacant since Richards was sworn in as BP in December.

“Ranked choice voting is the process whereby voters of Queens’ 31st Council District were given the opportunity to select up to five candidates to represent them in the New York City Council,” Osina said in a statement issued by his campaign Wednesday. “We await the final results of this newly implemented electoral process as the ranked choice votes on every ballot are tabulated and certified by the New York City Board of Elections. We will continue to monitor the results of this election, until every vote is counted, and a final winner is declared.”

The remaining totals, as per the BOE, included Latoya Benjamin with 340 votes and 4.95 percent of the vote; the Rev. Sherwyn James with 301 (4.39 percent); Shawn Rux with 188 (2.74 percent); Nancy Martinez with 144 (2.10 percent); Latanya Collins with 95 (1.38 percent); and Nicole Lee with 63 (0.92 percent). There also were 19 write-in votes.

Whoever is declared the winner will not have much time to settle into the office before running again to defend the seat.

Richards was coming up against term limits in the Council, and would have been ineligible to run for re-election in the district this year.

Whoever is declared the winner in the special election will need to run again in the general election this coming Nov. 2 — and possibly a Democratic Party primary in June.


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