By Sadef Ali Kully
State Sen. James Sanders (D-South Ozone Park) filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission Wednesday challenging longtime U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica), according to federal records.
Both elected officials have been involved in southeastern Queens politics for years.
Sanders represents the 10th Senatorial District, which includes the Queens neighborhoods of Richmond Hill, South Ozone Park, Jamaica, Rochdale Village, Rosedale and parts of Far Rockaway.
Sanders previously served in the City Council and spearheaded legislation dezoning homes in Cambria Heights so that the neighborhood would always remain its quality-of-life standards.
In 2012, he unseated former Sen. Shirley Huntley, who was convicted of funneling public funds to charities she oversaw and served less than a year in federal prison.
Despite, Sanders’ ambitions, Meeks is not a major player to contend with in southeast Queens. His district covers Far Rockaway, Jamaica, St. Albans, Springfield Gardens, South Ozone Park and parts of Elmont and Valley Stream, L.I.
Meeks has served as a congressman since 1998 after taking over the seat held by the Rev. Floyd Flake, who resigned to work on the ambitious development of the Allen AME cathedral.
Flake, a powerful figure in Queens politics, has been a longtime mentor and friend of Meeks.
On Twitter, community advocate and activist Ali Najmi tweeted, “In a potential Meeks vs. Sanders primary the South Asian and Indo-Caribbean community’s votes can be the swing factor.”
Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skull