Party Choice Wins Seat In Queens
By Bob Benenson, CQ Staff Writer
Democrat Gregory W. Meeks, the favorite of his party, his predecessor
and the AFL-CIO, easily outdistanced the field in the Feb. 3 special
election in the 6th District of New York.
Meeks was sworn in Feb. 5, just two days after dominating a contest
marked by light turnout in the black-majority 6th District in Queens.
Meeks' unofficial tally of 14,565 votes was 57.5 percent of all votes
Meeks will complete the term of former Rep. Floyd H. Flake, a Democrat
who resigned Nov. 15 to devote full time to his church ministry.
Meeks had Flake's endorsement going into the party committee caucus
that nominated him in January. But he had to hold off two other Democrats
from the state Legislature who ran on the ballot lines of other parties.
The more threatening of these was state Sen. Alton R. Waldon Jr., who held
the southeastern Queens seat in Congress briefly in 1986.
Also competing were state Rep. Barbara M. Clark, 58, who ran as an
independent on the 21st Century Party line, and Republican nominee
Celestine V. Miller, 54, a district school superintendent and first-time
candidate who until recently was a registered Democrat.
Waldon ran a distant second with an unofficial tally of 5,200 votes, or
20.5 percent. Clark had 3,206 votes, or 12.7 percent, and Miller took 2,174
votes, or 8.6 percent. Right to Life Party candidate Mary Cronin, who did
not campaign, had 186 votes, or 0.7 percent.
Running against the party was a striking role reversal for Waldon, 61,
who beat Flake in a 1986 special election but then lost to him in the
primary that September. Flake had portrayed Waldon as the hand-picked proxy
of the white-dominated Queens Democratic organization -- an accusation
Waldon chose to hurl at Meeks this winter.
Waldon accepted the endorsements of New York's Independence Party (a
branch of the National Reform Party) and -- in a surprise -- the
Conservative Party. Waldon had run in his state legislative races with the
backing of New York's Liberal Party, which supported Meeks in the Feb. 3
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