14 JUNE 24, 2021 RIDGEWOOD TIMES WWW.QNS.COM
NYC’s #1 Source for Political & Election News
Richards narrowly leads Crowley in BP race
BY JENNA BAGCAL, JULIA MORO, ZACHARY GEWELB
& 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
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
last-place 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
Meanwhile, Crowley’s campaign manager Graham
Nolen said the campaign is “encouraged by the
results we’ve seen so far.”
“There 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.”
The 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. The 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.
Prior to serving as borough president, Richards
Donovan Richards (l.) and Elizabeth Crowley Photos courtesy of Richards’ and Crowley’s campaign
was the councilman for District 31, which represents
constituents in Arverne, Brookville, Edgemere,
Laurelton, Springfi eld Gardens and Far Rockaway,
from 2013 to 2020.
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
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
The 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 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.”
The BOE plans to count the rest of the votes on
June 29, but those will also only include early voting
and election day ballots.
They 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.
The general election will take place on Nov. 2,
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