2009-01-23 / Community

Duncan Makes Six To Challenge Sanders

By Miriam Rosenberg

Michael Duncan, left, meets with community members during his introduction as Sanders' chief-of-staff in 2007. Michael Duncan, left, meets with community members during his introduction as Sanders' chief-of-staff in 2007. Councilman James Sanders Jr. may have a tough time defending his seat when he runs for reelection this fall, say some political insiders, as the field looking to replace him in the 31st Councilmanic District continues to grow. This, despite the City Council vote last year making it possible for city officials including Sanders to run for a third term.

On Tuesday, January 6 Michael Duncan, Sanders' former chief-of-staff, officially announced he would be running in this year's Democratic primary to take over his old boss' seat. This brings the total number of challengers to six. According to the New York City Campaign Finance Board website, the others who have already thrown their hats in the ring as of January 14 are Marq Claxton, Jacques Leandre, Fred Lewis and David Hooks. The list also includes Andrea Sanders, the councilman's wife, who declared before term limits were extended and has not yet terminated her campaign. It is assumed she will do so once the lawsuits fighting the term limits law work their way through the courts.

Duncan served as Sanders' chief-ofstaff for two years and points to his knowledge of the inner-workings of the City Council and the budget process as case for his being elected.

"A leadership with vision, ability, honesty and a leadership from within our ranks is the only leadership that is needed and beneficial for the people," said Duncan in a press release.

Sanders told The Wave he plans to run for reelection and believes he will win by a wide margin. He was one of 29 council members who voted to extend a term limits law to three terms for city officials, despite the fact that New Yorkers voted in two public referendums to support the two-term law.

The 31st City Council District includes Far Rockaway, Arverne, Bayswater and Edgemere on the Rockaway peninsula; Rosedale, Laurelton and Springfield Gardens on the mainland.

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