Posted by: vote4claxton | December 24, 2008

THE CITY COUNCIL RACE CONTINUES

12/24/2008
Races continue to heat up
by Matt Hampton , Editor
   Even the holiday season isn’t enough to keep the political wheels in New York City from turning.
   On the road to Albany, the last remaining undecided state Senate seat has come much closer to a resolution, though it could still be weeks or even months before a decision is made, depending on how litigious both sides are willing to get.

   Thus far, the result of the Padavan-Gennaro hearing have not been handed down, and aides of Sen. Frank Padavan’s office said they suspect nothing until after the holidays.
   With Republican Padavan ahead by a count of 580 votes, the contest has been tied up for weeks in court over a remaining 2,000 votes, which Democratic campaign operatives claim sway heavily toward the challenging Democrat, City Councilman James Gennaro. The court must decide whether or not to count the ballots.
   Even if the votes went to the Democrats, they would have to fall overwhelmingly to the challenger in order to swing the race his way.
   In recent weeks, while Gennaro and Padavan have elected to stay above the fray, operatives from both sides have engaged in a war of words, with Republicans saying the seat is essentially won, and that the State Democratic Campaign Committee is fighting for a lost cause. Republicans, of course, are fearing a lost cause of their own, fiercely defending Padavan’s seat as he, with a victory, would be the only Republican representing Queens in Albany in either the Senate or the Assembly.
   Meanwhile, on the municipal level, City Council races have started heating up in many areas where once-outgoing legislators are now powerful two-term incumbents.
   Marquez Claxton, a founding member of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, recently announced his bid in 2009 for the 31st District City Council seat, located in Laurelton. The seat, held by City Councilman James Sanders Jr., has been eyed by a number of Laurelton residents, and the recent overturning of term limits has apparently not cooled the interest.
   In addition to Claxton, Jacques Leandre, who is associated with several Laurelton civic groups, has expressed a great deal of interest in taking the seat away from Sanders.
   Sanders was mum during the lead-up to the term-limit hearings in the City Council. He was the only member to abstain from a vote that would have forced the issue to the voters — although one vote would not have made a difference — and ultimately voted in favor of a term-limit extension by a unilateral act of the council.
   Claxton is a former police officer who has made advocacy on all topics relating to law enforcement a large part of his platform. Sanders, a former Marine, is known more for his contributions to education.
   In the season of family togetherness, Queens might be feeling a little more family-friendly should city comptroller-candidate David Weprin take the office he’s been gunning for in 2009. Rumors are flying that David’s brother, Mark Weprin, may have some interest in taking over his City Council seat in Hollis. It wouldn’t be the first time that Mark has stepped in to replace a family member. He has been an Assembly member since a special election in 1994, when he took the 24th District seat after the death of his father, Saul, an influential Queens political figure, who rose to the post of Assembly speaker. Mark currently represents parts of Floral Park, Queens Village and Glen Oaks.
   Neighborhood sources say he has been subtly campaigning for the seat for some time, on the assumption that David manages to wrangle the city comptroller’s post away from a large field of contenders. No one in the assemblyman’s office returned calls for comment on the subject.

©Queens Chronicle 2008

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