Special elections in 3 NYC council districts

February 24, 2009 9:44:32 PM PST
Voters chose three New York City Council members on Tuesday, two from vacant districts in Queens and one from Staten Island. Julissa Ferreras won in the 21st Council District and Eric Ulrich won in the 32nd Council District in Queens. Ken Mitchell won in the 49th Council District on Staten Island.

The winners of the nonpartisan special election will serve through the end of the year. They will have to run again in their parties' primaries on Sept. 8 and in the general election on Nov. 3.

Six candidates were running in the 49th Council District on the North Shore of Staten Island. The seat became open when Michael McMahon won the congressional seat previously held by Rep. Vito Fossella, who did not seek re-election after a drunken-driving arrest that led to revelations that he had fathered a child in an extramarital affair.

With 100 precincts reporting, Ken Mitchell, who had served as McMahon's chief of staff, beat out five other candidates with 4,278 or 40 percent of the votes. Debi Rose got about 38 percent of the votes.

One candidate in the Staten Island race, John Tabacco, had been thrown off the ballot for not having enough petition signatures, but he was placed back on the ballot at the last minute Monday after a court ruling in the Appellate Division.

Four candidates were running in the 21st Council District in western Queens, which includes the neighborhoods of Corona, East Elmhurst and parts of Jackson Heights and Elmhurst. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Julissa Ferreras won with 46 percent of the vote, and Francisco Moya had 25 percent.

They were running to succeed Hiram Monserrate, who won election to the state Senate. Monserrate is facing charges of assault and weapon possession in the slashing of his girlfriend's face on Dec. 19 during a fight. Both Monserrate and his girlfriend have said the incident was an accident.

Another four candidates were running in the 32nd Council District in the Ozone Park-Howard Beach neighborhood of Queens, a seat vacated by Joseph Addabbo Jr., who also won a state Senate seat.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, 24-year-old Eric Ulrich won with 46 percent of the vote. Mike Ricatto had 9 percent, and Lew M. Simon had 34 percent.

The candidates are not running under established party labels such as Democrat or Republican because the City Charter says that in a special election for municipal office, the candidates may not use any of the names of designated parties that have received more than 50,000 votes in gubernatorial elections.

Polls were open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and turnout was low.

All of the 51 City Council seats will be on the Nov. 3 ballot, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg will seek a third term after spearheading a change in the city's term limits law so that he could run again.