2003-11-07 / Front Page

Sanders And Addabbo Win, Differ In Celebratory Style

By Brian Magoolaghan
Sanders And Addabbo Win, Differ In Celebratory Style By Brian Magoolaghan

Joe Addabbo hands out election material at the beach 116 St. subway station on election day.Joe Addabbo hands out election material at the beach 116 St. subway station on election day.

Incumbent City Councilmen James Sanders, Jr. and Joseph Addabbo, Jr. were almost guaranteed to defeat their challengers in this year’s election, and they did.

By about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday night, Sanders and Addabbo, each surrounded by key campaign staff, held polling results that spelled out victory. Addabbo took 70 percent of the vote in his district, and Sanders won an even more convincing 86 percent.

Their wide margins of victory are hardly shocking; both men managed to avoid the kind of controversy that would stall an election bid for much of their first terms and both faced weak challengers who lacked the name recognition and money to mount an incumbent-toppling assault.

Sanders had previously beaten his challenger, Everly Brown, by a wide margin, in the 2003 primary.

While both men shared the same reasons to celebrate following their victories, however, only one did.

There was no party for Sanders. The morning after Election Day, he said he was "extremely tired," after going to bed at 2 a.m. that morning. One staff member said the councilman was not feeling well from being out in the poor weather all day. But Sanders promised that volunteers would be thanked with a party sometime soon.

Things were different for the Addabbo camp. In a party room at Carosello in Howard Beach about 100 supporters gathered on Election Night. They were treated to a mouthwatering buffet: salad, penne alla vodka, chicken, and more. The people waited for their candidate, some anxious for good news and others very confident.

Addabbo entered the room with his wife at around 10 p.m. wearing a big smile. After hugging and handshaking his way to the podium, he began his victory speech.

Addabbo called his win not just a personal victory, but a win for the people of his district as well.

"We proved that the high road is a successful road," Addabbo said alluding to flyers circulated by challenger Mike Mossa’s campaign.

Addabbo thanked his supporters, volunteers, family, and staff, including Campaign Manager Chris Wagner.

"Thank you in 2003 for continuing to make my dream a reality," Addabbo told the charged-up crowd, some of them clanging small plates with silverware.

"It was tiring at times, it was hard at times, and it was long hours at times – but the rewards were there, and it was 110 percent satisfying," Wagner said.

Sanders, who throughout his campaign called for a "mandate" from his constituents, expressed similar gratitude to The Wave after the election.

"We asked for a five to one. The people responded by giving us almost nine to one," Sanders said.

"In order to run against an incumbent you have to find one that is not performing," Sanders explained.

But despite winning by such a large margin, Sanders said the issue of property tax, raised by his challenger Every Brown, was "worthy." Sanders said that as the economy improves he will "champion" a move to lower the tax – for lower income property owners first.

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