2005-09-16 / Community

Sanders Outpolls Hooks, Weiner Concedes

By Howard Schwach

James Sanders, Jr. proved once again on Tuesday that the party nod does not guarantee electoral success by beating David Hooks by a wide margin.

At the same time, two party outsiders fought to the end for the Democratic Party mayoral nod while the choice of the Queens Democratic Partly leadership came in dead last.

And, while Fernando “Freddy” Ferrer, the former Bronx Borough President, did not poll the requisite 40 percent of the vote to win the party nod outright on Tuesday, his main challenger, Congressman Anthony Weiner, who represents the west end of the Rockaway peninsula, conceded on Wednesday afternoon for the sake of party unity.

Local Democratic Party leaders took the nomination away from incumbent City Councilman James Sanders this year, giving it instead to David Hooks, a Rockaway activist and businessman.

Political insiders say it is highly unusual for a party to nominate somebody other than an incumbent in local races. The leaders cited charges that Sanders was inattentive to his constituents, that he missed too many council meetings and that he failed to meet a number of filing deadlines with the Campaign Finance Board.

While Hooks drew lots of ink for his charges that Sanders was out of compliance with city rules, the issue never went anywhere and apparently the issue did not help him in his campaign to oust Sanders. Sanders told The Wave that party leaders wanted to get rid of him because he is a maverick and refused “to kiss their rings.”

Despite the charges against Sanders and the party backing, Hooks could only garner 40 percent of the vote in the two-man race. Sanders won with 60 percent and will probably run unopposed in the November election.

In the mayoral race, the Queens Democratic Party chose City Council Speaker Gifford Miller to challenge Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the November election. In an election too close to call, Miller came in a distant fourth in a four-candidate race, with 10.2 percent of the vote.

With 100 percent of the precincts counted, however, Fernando Ferrer, the former Bronx Borough President, had 39.9 percent of the vote, just shy of the requisite 40 percent for election without a runoff. Weiner, who represents parts of Rockaway in the House of Representatives, polled 28.8 percent, while C. Virginia Fields polled 15.9 percent.

Weiner, however, decided not to challenge Ferrer in a runoff. Insiders say that Weiner may be positioning himself for the 2009 election, when there will be no incumbent due to term limits.

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