Election Results: A New Queens BP, Fresh Faces in the Assembly and Some Close Races to Watch

Donovan Richards

After a wild few weeks filled with absentee ballot snafus, long lines at early voting sites and an anxiety ridden Election Day, the votes are in and being counted. 

We may not know who’s running our country for a few days, or weeks, but we do know who’s running our city and state –– for the most part. 

There’s going to be a new face in Borough Hall in Kew Gardens.

City Councilmember and now Queens Borough President-Elect Donovan Richards (D-Arverne, Brookville, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens) took gold in the Queens Borough President race on Tuesday with nearly 70% of the in person vote, according to unofficial election results from the New York City Board of Election.

“We got a lot of work ahead of us, but we’re gonna fight each and every day to ensure that, you know, the people of this borough, get the services and get the resources that they need,” said Richards on Tuesday. 

Despite outstanding absentee ballots, Republican candidate and chairwoman of the Queens County Republican Party Joann Ariola conceded the election on Wednesday morning. 

Richards takes office in January, sparking a special election for his current city council seat representing District 31. But he only has a moment to breath before he has to get back out on the campaign trail since he will have to rerun for Queens Borough President in the 2021 citywide elections. But he isn’t worried, he said. 

“Your campaign is your work. That’s the way I view it,” he said, “Your work is what will speak first.”

There are four new electeds representing Queens in the State Assembly.

Assemblymember-Elects Khaleel Anderson, Jessica González-Rojas, Jenifer Rajkumar, and Zohran Mamdani are officially on their way to Albany –– and making history while they’re at it.

At age 24, Anderson is the youngest black state lawmaker to be elected in New York. He won the vacant Assembly District 31 (Far Rockaway, Rosedale, Laurelton, Springfield Gardens, South Ozone Park and South Richmond Hill) seat with nearly 90% of the in-person vote, according to unofficial election results. 

Mamdani and Rajkumar are the first South Asians elected to the State Assembly. After unseating incumbent Assemblymember Michael Miller (D-Woodhaven, Glendale, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, and Ridgewood) in the June primary, Rajkumar handily beat her Republican opponent in the Assembly District 38 race by taking 70% of the in-person vote, according to unofficial results.

DSA backed Mamdani, on the other hand, sailed into his seat unopposed in the general election after a primary upset in June when he defeated Assemblymember Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria and parts of Long Island City) in Assembly District 36. 

Meanwhile, González-Rojas won Assembly District 34 with three quarters of the in-person vote, according to preliminary results. A progressive insurgent, González-Rojas swept the feet out from underneath previous unchallenged Assemblymember Michael Dendekker (D-Jackson Heights, Woodside, East Elmhurst) in the June primaries. 

Three Queens incumbents will have to fight for their seats during the absentee ballot count.

State Assemblymember Edward Braunstein (D-Auburndale, Bay Terrace, Bayside, Bayside Hills, Broadway-Flushing, Douglaston, Floral Park, Glen Oaks, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, North Shore Towers, Oakland Gardens, Whitestone) and State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside and The Rockaways) are neck and neck with their Republican opponents after Tuesday’s vote. 

Braunstein is behind Republican Candidate John-Alexander Sakelos by 5 points in the race for Assembly District 26 while Addabbo is ahead of his Republican challenger, Thomas P. Sullivan, by just 7 points for Senate District 15, according to unofficial results. 

Sakelos is confident in his win but Braunstein is not ready to concede the race, saying that the absentee votes that the city won’t start counting until Monday, Nov. 9 could change the outcome. Sakelos is leading by about 3,000 votes. There are more than 15,000 outstanding absentee ballots yet to be counted. 

Addabbo, on the other hand, already posted a thank-you note to his supporters on Facebook, celebrating a presumptive win. He is up by nearly 7,000 votes in his race against Sullivan with more than 23,000 outstanding absentee ballots. 

Congressman Thomas Suozzi (D-Little Neck, Whitestone, Glen Oaks and Floral Park, parts of Long Island) is also struggling to hold his own against Republican Candidate George Santos in the 3rd Congressional District race. Suozzi won Queens voters with 54% of the vote but is losing overall in the district by 1.5 points, according to preliminary results. 

Only time and the absentee ballot counts will tell who wins. 

The rest of the incumbents on the ballot on Tuesday had clear wins.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took more than 68% of the vote in her highly watched and very expensive congressional election. 

U.S. Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, Carolyn Maloney, and Nydia Velázquez had strong wins taking in about 80% of the vote each in their respective races. 

Congresswoman Grace Meng had a tougher fight but ultimately came out on top with more than 62% of the vote compared to runner up Republican candidate Thomas Zmich’s 37.33%.

State Senators John Liu and Jessica Ramos will be returning to office after winning their elections. Liu won with more than 57% of the vote and Ramos with more than three-quarters, according to preliminary results. 

Also returning to Albany after facing down Republican challengers are State Assemblymembers Andrew Hevesi, Jeffrion Aubry, Ron Kim, and Stacey Pheffer Amato. Hevesi, Aubry, and Kim stole their races with more than three-quarters of the vote each while Pheffer Amato pushed through with nearly 60% of the vote. 

And of course, there are the lawmakers who ran unopposed. 

Surprise! All of the incumbents on the ballot that ran unopposed won their races with 98% of the vote or more. They each, however, lost a few points to rogue voters who wrote in candidates of their own (if you’re one of those voters, I’d love to hear from you!).

Congressman Gregory Meeks will be returning to Washington D.C. Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris, and State Senators James Sanders Jr., Leroy Comrie and Toby Ann Stavisky will all be headed back to the State Senate while State Assemblymember David Weprin, Nily Rozic, Daniel Rosenthal, Alicia Hyndman, Brian Barnwell, Vivian Cook, Clyde Vanel, Catherine Nolan and Catalina Cruz will be returning to Albany as well to represent their districts in the State Assembly. 

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