24 THE QUEENS COURIER • JUNE 24, 2021 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Richards, Crowley battle for top spot in tight borough president race
BY JENNA BAGCAL, JULIA MORO,
& ANGÉLICA ACEVEDO
Voters in Queens used ranked-choice
voting to pick between three Democratic
candidates running for borough president
in the primary election on Tuesday, June
22, with two candidates vying for the top
spot in the hotly contested race.
Incumbent Donovan Richards held a
small lead over Elizabeth Crowley, the
former District 30 councilwoman, as of 8
a.m. Wednesday morning, with term-limited
District 26 City Councilman Jimmy
Van Bramer in third place, with more
than 88 percent of precincts reported,
according to unoffi cial results from the
city’s Board of Elections (BOE).
Richards secured 41.53 percent of the
vote (64,814 votes), with Crowley right
behind him at 40.20 percent of the vote
(62,738 votes), according to the BOE. Van
Bramer followed with 17.82 percent of the
vote (27,813 votes).
Because of the new ranked-choice voting
system, if none of the three candidates
have more than 50 percent of the
votes aft er all votes are counted, the lastplace
candidate will be out of the running.
If initial results are any indication, Van
Bramer will be in last place, which means
that all ballots with Van Bramer as the fi rst
choice would be redistributed to those
voters’ second-choice candidates. Aft er
that, whoever has the most votes will win.
Only preliminary unoffi cial results,
including ballots cast during the early voting
period and on Election Day, are currently
available from the BOE. Absentee
ballots are not a part of the initial tally.
“I think when all is said and done, I
think our work speaks for itself. I think
when ranked-choice voting plays out,
we’re gonna come out favorable in this
race as well,” Richards said at his election
night party at Cobblestones Pub in
Forest Hills. “Every vote must be counted
and we respect the Democratic process.
We’re ready to continue the work
that we started.”
Meanwhile, Crowley’s campaign manager
Graham Nolen said the campaign
is “encouraged by the results we’ve seen
“Th ere are tens of thousands of absentee
ballots to be counted, and we look forward
to seeing the complete results and
the RCV process,” Nolen said. “We believe
we’re on a path to victory.”
Th e close race is no surprise, as Richards
and Crowley competed in the closely contested
special election in 2020 to fi ll the
seat vacated by Melinda Katz, who was
elected to become Queens district attorney
in 2019. Th e race came down to the
wire, with Crowley fi nishing in second
place, trailing Richards by only 7 percent
of the vote.
Following the Democratic primary,
Richards became the fi rst Black man
to win the Queens borough presidency
in the November 2020 general election,
beating out Republican challenger Joann
Ariola and third-party candidate Dao
Yin. Election results showed that Richards
earned 518,840 votes (69.8 percent of the
vote) compared to Ariola’s 205,893 votes.
Winning the primary today is the fi rst
step to keeping that role for a full term.
Prior to serving as borough president,
Richards was the councilman for
District 31, which represents constituents
in Arverne, Brookville, Edgemere,
Laurelton, Springfi eld Gardens and Far
Rockaway, from 2013 to 2020.
Richards’ re-election campaign prioritized
COVID-19 recovery; building more
aff ordable housing; improving transportation
by redesigning streets, improving
the borough’s bike network and increasing
bus service; and combating the rampant
hate crimes across the borough.
In a statement to QNS earlier Tuesday,
Richards touted his accomplishments in
his fi rst six months as borough president.
“In just over six months as borough
president, we’ve worked hard to deliver
on the platform we proposed last year. We
quickly expanded access to the COVID-
19 vaccine, broke ground on thousands
of new units of real aff ordable housing,
modernized and diversifi ed our community
boards, secured $17.5 million for
small business assistance, invested nearly
$12 million into our local healthcare
system, and opened the fi rst of its kind
Immigrant Welcome Center at Borough
Hall,” Richards said. “Now it’s time to continue
to build on the progress we’ve made,
and work to ensure our streets are safe,
our borough is more aff ordable, and our
small businesses are able to fl ourish.”
He received key endorsements from 20
fellow Queens elected offi cials, as well as
26 local unions and organizations that
supported his re-election campaign.
Crowley is the most moderate of the
three democratic candidates. According
to her campaign, she is in support of hiring
more police offi cers and criticizes the
term “defund the police.” Crowley said she
wants to diversify the police force as well.
“We have to go back to the fundamentals:
Good schools, aff ordable living and
safe streets,” Crowley said. “I have a proven
record on all of these issues: my City
Council district is no longer the most
overcrowded. I’m the only candidate in
the race to not take developer money,
and I have taken on City Hall consistently
to fi ght for our fair share of public safety
Th e lifelong Queens resident was the
fi rst woman and Democrat elected to the
City Council in District 30 and served
on the Council for nine years. She told
QNS that the top three issues facing the
borough are a post-COVID economic
Photo courtesy of Van Bramer’s campaign
Jimmy Van Bramer trails both Richards and
comeback, improvements to public education
and expanding transit and aff ordable
housing for Queens residents.
Van Bramer, who was in the middle of
a campaign for borough president last
year before dropping out, is considered
the most progressive candidate and has
received endorsements from Cynthia
Nixon and state Senator Jessica Ramos.
He’s a founding member of the progressive
caucus of the City Council.
Van Bramer on Wednesday morning
all but conceded the race, acknowledging
that his defi cit is likely too much to
bounce back from.
“While there are still potentially nearly
50,000 absentee ballots yet to be
counted, it is clear from the results on
Primary Day that we did not get the
result we had hoped for,” Van Bramer
said in an emailed statement. “I congratulate
Borough President Donovan Richards
and Elizabeth Crowley for moving on to
the next round of ranked-choice voting.
Although we fell short, there is so much
about this campaign to be proud of.”
Th e BOE plans to count the rest of
the votes on June 29, but those will also
only include early voting and election day
Th ey also plan to release updates on the
absentee ballots one week aft er that on
July 6. Complete results should be available
by July 12, but there is no set date.
An offi cial result will be made when every
vote is counted.
Th e general election will take place on
Nov. 2, 2021.
Photo courtesy of Richards’ campaign
Donovan Richards has a slim lead after Election
Photo courtesy of Crowley’s campaign
Elizabeth Crowley is currently in second place in
the Queens borough president race.