Today’s news:

Four seek assembly seat in April special election

Three candidates have been nominated by their political parties, and a fourth filed a petition for the April 16 special election to fill the 31st Assembly District seat left vacant by the death of Pauline Rhodd-Cummings.

Democratic District Leader Michele Titus, South Ozone Park civic activist and Republican Marina Rejas, and the Independent Party’s Michael Duvalle, who ran for the seat in 2000, filed certificates of nomination with the city Board of Elections Monday, said board spokesman Rick Peters.

Other candidates interested in running on other party lines had to file a petition with the board by midnight Tuesday, said Peters.

Bronx assistant district attorney Charles Pringle Jr. filed a petition late Tuesday night, a spokesman from the Board of Elections said.

Richmond Hill activist Taj Rajkumar was also expected to file a petition, but it had not been received by the deadline.

The 31st Assembly District covers South Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Springfield Gardens, Far Rockaway and Laurelton. The district is heavily Democratic and has voted that way since it was formed after the 1990 census.

That may be good news for Titus, who was also nominated by the Working Families and Liberal parties, is the Democratic district leader and a lawyer. Her experience in politics makes her a good choice, said David Hooks, a career planning and development associate at the State University of New York Queens Educational Opportunities Building in Jamaica.

“It allows her to hit the ground running,” said Hooks, who considered running for the seat but did not meet the residency requirements. “When she arrives in Albany, she’ll be comfortable. I think she’ll do well.”

As a Republican, Rejas has a tough fight ahead of her in the heavily Democratic district, but she is ready for it, said a spokeswoman at the Queens Republican headquarters. Rejas is a longtime South Ozone Park resident, a civic activist and a member of the party’s executive committee, the spokeswoman said.

Independent candidate Duvalle has tried for the 31st Assembly seat before. He ran against Rhodd-Cummings in the 2000 election and gained 5 percent of the vote. Duvalle also ran for the Assembly in 1998.

Pringle is a lifelong district member and a member of the Allen A.M.E. Church, said Ina Alfattah, a spokeswoman for candidate. He worked as an intern for Rev. Floyd Flake, a former congressman and the head of Allen A.M.E. Church, she said.

The candidates were unavailable for comment.

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at, or by phone at 229-0300, Ext. 138.

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