Queens Council Hopeful Packs a Punch

By Jennifer Millman
|  Saturday, Aug 15, 2009  |  Updated 11:50 AM EDT
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Queens Council Hopeful Packs a Punch

AP

Is this a race for city council or a boxing match?

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This certainly can't help his chances in the election. Or maybe he's just running on the "tough guy" platform.

Queens City Council candidate Ruben Wills took the battle for the seat to a whole new level yesterday, taking a swing at an opponent as they argued over election rules, witnesses said, according to a published report.

Wills, who's vying for the 28th Council District seat, had bad aim. He threw a punch at former City Councilman Allan Jennings, but caught his aide instead, reports the Daily News. The 38-year-old denies it happened.

The 38-year-old Wills, who vowed to march on Washington after he was kicked off the congressional ballot last year, is fighting Jennings' efforts to get on the ballot for the upcoming Democratic primary next month, according to the News.

Jennings, who held the council seat from 2001 to 2005, refused to take his name off the ballot last night at the Board of Elections office and told the News that's when Wills came after him.

Jennings campaign aide Frank Perero had the unfortunate experience of being in the way. Perero said he was sitting in front of a computer when Wills' punch knocked him to the ground.

"All of a sudden, Mr. Wills pops with an angry look on his face, and I found myself on the floor," Perero told the News. "My back is killing me."

Wills says the campaign worker is making a big deal out of nothing and accused him of "buffoonery." He also told the News he's withdrawing his challenge to Jennings' petition to get on the ballot. The two aspiring politicians are running against incumbent Thomas White for the seat that represents South Ozone Park, Jamaica, Richmond Hill and Rochdale Village.

Board of Elections spokeswoman Valerie Vasquez-Rivera confirmed that "an incident happened" and that a police report was filed, reports the News. Wills left the building after a Board of Elections employee restrained him; cops located him in a shop nearby but didn't arrest him.

Neither Wills nor Jennings are strangers to controversy. 

In 2008, Wills attempted to run for Congress against Rep. Gregory Meeks, but was taken off the ballot. He threatened to march on Washington if his name wasn't restored. The wanna-be councilman also has a track record of neglecting to pay child support, taxes and student loans, according to the News.

For his part, the 42-year-old Jennings made national headlines when hurled a piece of metal at a reporter on live TV. The unpredictable pol also took out ads in Chinese language newspapers condemning his wife and announcing his life for the folk dancer he was dating at the time, reports the News

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