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Huntley, Clark defeat Democratic challengers

Experience was the deciding factor in the key Democratic primary races as both state Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica) and state Assemblywoman Barbara Clark (D-Queens Village) were returned to office, according to unofficial results.

Huntley defeated Lynn Nunes, 25, with 6,885 votes, or roughly 70 percent of the tally, with 80 percent of the precincts reporting. Nunes captured 2,970 votes, or about 30 percent of the vote, according to the results carried by NY1.

“Sen. Shirley Huntley has been delivering results for her community for almost four years, and residents showed up at the polls today to say thank you by overwhelmingly voting for her,” said Lisa King, Huntley’s spokeswoman.

Nunes, a small business owner from South Ozone Park, could not be reached for comment as of press time Tuesday.

Clark bested Clyde Vanel in her race, with the incumbent collecting 1,206 votes, or 65 percent, with 46 percent of the precincts reporting, compared to her challenger’s 662 votes, or 35 percent, NY1 said.

Neither Clark nor Vanel, 35, an attorney who owns a private practice in Manhattan, could be reached for comment as of press time.

There are no Republican challengers for either race, which means both Huntley and Clark have been re-elected.

Since 2007 Huntley has been the representative of the 10th Senate District, which includes the neighborhoods of Jamaica, Laurelton, Springfield Gardens, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and parts of Forest Hills. Nunes had attempted a run for the late City Councilman Thomas White’s seat last year, but lost to White in the primary.

At the polls throughout southeast Queens, voters said they went with the Huntley because of her years of work in the community.

“I’ve been following her. She’s been trying hard,” said Chanttale Santana, 25, of Jamaica, who voted at PS 140 at 166-00 116th Ave.

Nunes had been gaining strong support from gay rights groups who decried Huntley’s no vote on the gay marriage bill last year. That issue did not seem to affect voters in the area, as many said they did not think Nunes had enough experience to lead in Albany.

“I didn’t know a thing about him,” said Dorit Bodden, 89, of St. Albans, who voted at the Robert Ross Johnson Family Life Center on Linden Boulevard.

Over in eastern Queens, voters were more mixed about their choice for the Assembly candidate.

Clark represents the 33rd Assembly District, which includes the neighborhoods of Queens Village and Cambria Heights and parts of Bellerose and has been in the Assembly for more than 20 years. Vanel was popular among voters who said they wanted a change in Albany.

“I don’t think she’s doing a good job,” said Jim Douglas, 54, an accountant who voted at PS 147 in Cambria Heights. “There is always room for an improvement.”

Some, however, believed that Clark was performing well as a state legislator and would continue to work hard for constituents.

“She did a good job so far,” said Alexander Smith, 61, of Cambria Heights, who also voted at PS 147.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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