2012-05-04 / Top Stories

Sanders Considering Run For Huntley’s Seat

By Miriam Rosenberg

James Sanders James Sanders Councilman James Sanders Jr. has set up a committee that would allow him to raise and spend monies in an effort to unseat State Senator Shirley Huntley this fall.

According to the New York State Board of Elections website the councilman, who will be term-limited out of office at the end of 2013, has formed the Sanders for Senate campaign committee.

Liz Benjamin of Capitol Tonight first broke the story. Chris Bragg, a blogger on the City & State website followed up by reporting that Sanders has already hired a campaign manager. The latest to report on a possible Sanders run for State Senate is the Daily News in its April 25 edition.

While Sanders will not confirm or deny the reports, Liz Benjamin’s story did include a statement by Democratic Senate Minority Leader John Sampson in support of Huntley that seems to suggest they are getting ready for a challenge. “Senator Huntley is a trusted colleague and strong voice for her constituents,” said Sampson in a statement. “Despite the Senate Republicans’ attempts to marginalize her through partisan gerrymandering, she will prevail in any primary or general election with the full support of her Conference and our partners.”

New district lines for Huntley’s District 10 now encompass areas of Far Rockaway and Arverne, places she has not previously represented; while residents there know Sanders from his 10 years as their councilman.

Should the Democratic Party leadership decide to try to freeze out Sanders if he runs, it would not be the first time Sanders has gone against the tide. In 2005 the party refused to back him for re-election and chose another candidate to endorse.

“I’ve never really run a race with the party’s backing,” Sanders told The Wave in 2005. “In my first run for the City Council, the party backed somebody else and I won decisively.” Calls and emails to Sanders’ office for comment were not returned. About a possible challenge to unseat her Huntley reportedly said, “This is America – everyone has a right to run … More power to the brother.”

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