City Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) said he is looking forward to continuing his agenda for \southeast Queens after voters decided to keep him in office for the remainder of his term.
Wills, 40, trounced former Councilman Allan Jennings, Clifton Stanley Diaz and Michael Duvalle for the seat with 2,699 votes, or 70 percent of the total of 3,832 votes, according to unofficial election results from the Associated Press, which had 87 out of 95 voting precincts reporting. Since there will be no Republican challengers in the general election, Wills will be serving the remaining two years left in the Council term that was vacated in 2010 when Thomas White died.
“Today’s victory sends a clear message that we are a community that will stick together. he said in a statement.
Wills represents the 28th Council District, which includes Jamaica, South Ozone Park, Rochdale Village and Richmond Hill. He won the special election last year when White died eight months into his second term and had to run again this year under City Charter rules.
Jennings, who lost to Wills during last year’s election, had 624 votes, or 16 percent, according to the AP. Diaz, a board member of Rochdale Village, received 226 votes, or 6 percent, while Duvalle, a business owner, received 283 votes, 7 percent, the AP said.
The race was heated between Jennings and Wills, who raised the most money of the candidates, and their competition got heated
Tuesday outside August Martin High School after Wills placed his vote.
The councilman and his 21-year-old daughter Julissa approached Jennings on 157th Street as he was greeting voters and demanded that he answer for a campaign flier that allegedly made reference to Wills’ child support woes, according to an observer who saw the flier.
The challenger eventually got into an SUV with a staffer and drove off while the councilman kept scolding him from the street.
“We’re going to run you out of this community,” Wills shouted.
This was the first time Diaz and Duvalle officially ran for public office and the two made a low-key grassroots campaign. Diaz had spent $17,456 for his run while Duvalle spent $813, campaign finance records show.?
“I put up a good fight to the best of my ability,” Diaz said after the results were released.
Turnout was low, according to poll workers, and those? who came out to vote said they were unimpressed with the candidates during the campaign.
A voter who only asked to be named John, 86,? said he was displeased with Wills and Jennings’ antics but was more upset that the other two novice candidates did not make more of an effort to promote their agendas.
“They were very poor, all of them,” he said.
Walthene Permus, however, said she was impressed with Wills’ work and said she was hopeful he would help the community over the next two years.
“Every time I see him, he’s out there on the street and he has the community’s interests at heart,” she said.