In the September 13 primary, Councilman James Sanders handily defeated embattled incumbent Senator Shirley Huntley, opening the door for a special election that will likely feature an Orthodox Jewish candidate.
Sanders is currently a New York City councilman representing the neighborhoods of Southeast Queens, including the large Orthodox community in Far Rockaway, and will remain in that position until he assumes his new post in Albany on January 1. Once vacated, the mayor would likely call for a special election for sometime in March 2013 and the field of candidates is expected to be crowded.
This would not be the first opportunity for Far Rockaway to make a splash on the political scene. It was only a year ago that voters turned out in droves to support Phil Goldfeder in his race for New York State Assembly which he won by a wide margin. The Far Rockaway Jewish community now has another opportunity to demonstrate their influence on city politics and community by choosing a candidate for the seat. Community insiders believe that Pesach Osina, currently a staff member for Assemblyman Goldfeder, will be that pick.
“Pesach is a great friend and has a long history in politics and community service,” said Assemblyman Goldfeder. “He has worked in every neighborhood throughout Queens and would be an ideal candidate to represent the diverse needs of the 31st Council District while making a true kiddush Hashem.”
Goldfeder, a rising star in New York politics, has mentioned to numerous sources that he would consider supporting an Orthodox candidate in a special city council election if it was in the best interest of the community.
With the upcoming heavily contested primaries approaching in September 2013, Far Rockaway’s ability to turn out a significant number of voters in a March 2013 special election, as was done for Goldfeder, will be a clear indication that they are a new Jewish force to be reckoned with.