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Comrie wins 4-way race to take Spigner’s seat

Democrat Leroy Comrie, a longtime aide to City Councilman Archie Spigner (D-St. Albans), won the four-way election for Spigner’s seat Tuesday.

With 86 percent of the precincts reporting, Comrie had 82 percent of the vote, a comfortable lead over Republican Ishmael Morgan, who had 8 percent.

“It’s official in my mind,” Comrie said of his apparent victory late Tuesday night. “Our numbers are overwhelmingly in our favor so it’s not a problem from this end.”

Less than a week before the election, Independence Party nominee and former state Assemblywoman Cynthia Jenkins died. Jenkins remained on the ballot after her death and received 8 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results.

Jenkins, who served as a Democrat in the Assembly for 12 years, reportedly had been suffering from a long illness, but had continued to run an active campaign for City Council right up until her death Oct. 31. Her funeral was held Monday.

“I don’t think it had any major effect on the election. It might have gotten her a little larger vote,” Comrie said of Jenkins’ death, “I’m just sorry that she left us.”

Comrie also defeated the Rev. Ed Mc Kay, who ran independently without the backing of an official political party. He got 2 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns.

Comrie, who served as Spigner’s district manager for 18 years, had the benefit of the deputy majority leader’s support and the advantage of running in a heavily Democratic district.

Like all the other Queens city council members and Borough President Claire Shulman, Spigner was unable to run for re-election due to term limits after serving in the City Council since 1974.

“I feel that this is the beginning of a very interesting time for the city and it will be an opportunity for working within the Council to make some changes and to have a direct impact on my district and its citizens,” Comrie said.

The southeast Queens district stretches from part of Queens Village, through Jamaica and St. Albans into part of Springfield Gardens and Rosedale. It covers part of troubled School Board 29, which Comrie used to head.

Education was the universal issue in both the primary and the general election for this race and for most in the borough this year.

Economic development, commercial revitalization and affordable housing were other issues the candidates mentioned as among their top priorities for the southeast Queens district.

Morgan is the manager of an Off-Track Betting Branch who ran unsuccessfully for the same seat in 1997.

Jenkins was a librarian before her tenure as assemblywoman and community activist. The Rev. Ed Mc Kay, a political newcomer, ran independently with the unofficial Harmony Party.

Reach reporter Betsy Scheinbart by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 138.

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