By Rich Bockmann
Each of southeast Queens’ three City Council districts will be contested in next week’s general election, but the candidates challenging the winners from September’s Democratic primaries are facing steep odds.
Because Democrats make up no less than 77 percent of registered voters in Districts 27, 28 and 31, the area is a poster child for the kind of one-party politics where seats are won and lost in the primary contests, but that has not stopped a handful of candidates from pressing on in November.
In District 27, the primary battle to succeed term-limited Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) was a heated one, with transit union leader I. Daneek Miller narrowly edging out attorney Clyde Vanel by a margin of about 3 percentage points. Sondra Peeden, owner of a management consulting firm, came in at the bottom of the pack with 4 percent of the vote, but is continuing to run on the Independence Party line in the general election.
The district covers downtown Jamaica, Hollis, Cambria Heights and St. Albans.
Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) fended off a primary challenge from attorney Hettie Powell with a 16 percent margin of victory. Next week he will face Mireille Leroy, founder of a nonprofit that organizes humanitarian trips to Haiti, who is running on the Unity Party line.
Leroy mounted a campaign for the District 28 seat — which represents part of Jamaica, South Jamaica, South Ozone Park and Richmond Hill — in the 2009 Democratic primary, but did not make it onto the ballot.
Councilman Donovan Richard (D-Laurelton) won his District 31 seat representing Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens and Far Rockaway in a hotly contested special election earlier this year. He then took the September primary handily with more than 51 percent of the vote against a pair of challengers. including accountant Ricardo Brown, who is going for Round 2 on the Jobs & Education Party line.
The two will be joined in the race by Scherie Murray, the lone Republican running for office in southeast Queens. Democrats outnumber Republicans in the district by more than 15-to-1.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.