Attorney Jacques Leandre, one of nine candidates in a special election for former Councilmember James Sanders’ 31st district seat, has withdrawn a lawsuit questioning the validity of qualifying petitions of some of his rivals after the Board of Elections (BOE) authenticated the signatures.
“Leandre should have never filed his lawsuit in the first place,” said Selvena Brooks, one of the candidates under fire. “[It] was a cynical, anti-democratic exercise, and a waste of the court’s time.”
Before withdrawing his claims, Leandre said that it was all a part of the electoral process, a system that his opponents were “not adequately versed in.”
“This is really nothing out of the ordinary,” he said. “Candidates and objectors have the right to question petition signatures, and the BOE verifies those signatures.” After Leandre and his team received the determination by the board that the other candidates met their requirements, he decided that withdrawing was the best thing to do.
“Although we disagree with the determination, we respect the board’s decision,” he said.
Earnest Flowers, another candidate Leandre targeted, said that the allegations were “most certainly false,” and that it was just a tactic to try and get candidates to spend campaign funds on lawyers instead of the race. Leandre countered this by saying this process ensures the integrity of the race.
Others accused included Allan Jennings, Marie Adams-Ovide, Michael Duncan and Donovan Richards. Richards, Sanders’ former chief-of-staff, is reportedly the favorite and recently received the endorsement of mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio.
The candidates will now square off in several debates until the special election on Tuesday, February 19.
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