Republican Candidate Sakelos Overtakes Braunstein in AD26

Queens is on track to double its amount of Republican elected officials after Tuesday’s election. 

Republican Candidate for State Assembly John-Alexander M. Sakelos is leading in a tight race for District 26, according to unofficial results from the New York City Board of Elections. 

If the absentee ballot count goes in his favor, he will unseat incumbent 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).

“We’re confident that we’ll maintain it and we’ll be certified by the end of the week,” Sakelos said about his lead on Wednesday afternoon. “Mathematically it’s in my favor.”

If elected, Sakelos will become the second Republican elected official currently representing Queens in a state or local office. Right now, the only Republican elected official in Queens is City Councilmember Eric Ulrich (R-Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Rockaway Park, Roxbury, South Ozone Park, West Hamilton Beach, Woodhaven).

Sakelos currently has a 5 point lead with 52.36% of the vote compared to Braunstein’s 47.57% with 97% of scanners reporting, according to the BOE. Despite more than 14,000 outstanding absentee ballots in the district, he’s certain he’ll win, he said. 

“If you look at the breakdown, there’s no way I got the number that I got, our campaign got the number that we got, without Independence, unaffiliated voters, and Democrats switching party lines to vote for our campaign,” he said. “I think that it held true on election day and it’ll hold true for the people who decided to mail in or drop off their ballot.”

Braunstein, however, was of a different opinion. 

In an emailed statement, a representative from his campaign wrote that of the more than 14,000 absentee ballots yet to be counted in the district, less than 15% were from Republicans. 

“Once the thousands of Democrats have their votes counted and their voices heard, we are confident Edward Braunstein will be returning to the Assembly,” they wrote. 

Braunstein took office in 2011 after defeating Republican opponent Vincent Tabone. He ran unopposed until 2018 when he beat Republican David Bressler.

Whether or not Sakelos will succeed where Tabone and Bressler did not and whether or not he will turn the district from blue to red won’t be known until after the absentee ballot count which isn’t set to begin until Monday Nov. 9.

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