Two councilmembers, one district. Following the City Council special election late Tuesday, February 19, candidates Donovan Richards and Pesach Osina both declared victory of the 31st District.
“While we are still uncertain of the total numbers, when every vote is counted, we will be victorious,” said Osina, an aide to Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder, at his campaign headquarters.
Similarly, Richards took to Twitter and Facebook, declaring, “Happy to announce I am the councilman!”
As of midnight on election night with 97 percent reporting, a mere 26 votes separated Richards, former Councilmember James Sanders’ protégé, and Osina, according to unofficial Board of Elections (BOE) reports.
The race to fill Sanders’ vacant seat was heated, and crowded. Attorney Jacques Leandre came short of Osina and Richards, followed by community activist Michael Duncan, Selvena Brooks, Community Board 8 District Manager Marie Adam-Ovide, Saywalah Kesselly and Allan Jennings.
Counting to determine a winner will reportedly rev back up Wednesday, February 20. There is a potentially missing memory stick from a ballot scanner, and absentee and paper ballots still need to be counted. A recount could also be in the cards, according to Politicker.
Despite the chaotic end, candidates still see a bright future for southeast Queens.
Brooks, who conceded before counting ceased, said she believes that the district will emerge stronger and better because of what the candidates had done throughout the campaign and because of the important community issues they highlighted and elevated.
There was still no winner as of press time.