Nov. 4, 2020 By Allie Griffin
Queens Democrats are projected to sweep the general election in nearly every race in the borough — although official winners will not be called for days or even weeks.
On the local level, Council Member Donovan Richards cruised to victory in the Queens Borough President race, easily defeating his Republican challenger Joann Ariola, the chair of the Queens County Republican Party.
Richards won more than 67 percent of the vote, with Ariola taking in nearly 31 percent and third party candidate Dao Yin generating just 2 percent, according to the unofficial election night results.
Richards won the Democratic primary in June and will be borough president until the end of 2021 at which point there will be another election. His victory last night will see him completing what would have been Melinda Katz’ term, who vacated the seat at the beginning of the year to assume office as Queens District Attorney.
Richards celebrated his victory at an election party at Pa-Nash Eurosoul restaurant in Rosedale.
“I want to thanks Queens first,” Richards said. “This election was all about who we are as a borough.”
Meanwhile, on the federal level, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez easily won a second term representing parts of Queens and the Bronx in the 14th Congressional District.
“Serving NY-14 and fighting for working class families in Congress has been the greatest honor, privilege, & responsibility of my life,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Thank you to the Bronx & Queens for re-electing me to the House despite the millions spent against us, & trusting me to represent you once more.”
She beat out first-time Republican candidate John Cummings with more than 68 percent of the vote.
Cummings, a Catholic high school teacher and former NYPD officer, raised more than $10 million to challenge the popular progressive incumbent — making the race the second most expensive House contest in the country, according to the New York Times.
Rep. Grace Meng, another Democratic incumbent, was also able to hold onto her seat in the 6th Congressional District with ease.
Meng took more than 62 percent of the vote, while her Republican challenger Thomas Zmich got about 37 percent, according to BOE election night results.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who represents parts of Manhattan and Queens, also sailed to victory to hold onto her 12th Congressional District seat.
Maloney got nearly 79 percent of the vote, beating Republican Carlos Santiago-Cano, who earned about 19 percent.
Meanwhile — at the state government level — many Democratic incumbents held onto their seats by either running unopposed or easily defeating Republican challengers in the borough.
Democratic incumbent Sen. Joseph Addabbo faced a tighter race, however. According to election night results, Addabbo gained about 54 percent of the vote, while Republican Thomas Sullivan earned about 46 percent.
The State Assembly, on the other hand, is posed to welcome several newcomers to office along with returning incumbents.
Newcomers who are projected to win their respective Assembly seats include Khaleel Anderson, who — at just 24 years old — will become the youngest person elected to the State Assembly in roughly 20 years. He will represent the 31st Assembly District, which covers Ozone Park, Rosedale and parts of the Rockaways.
Anderson won nearly 89 percent of the vote, according to election night results.
“To the communities of Assembly District 31: I am HONORED to be your next Assemblymember! THANK YOU for your continued support of our New Fight Together,” Anderson wrote on Twitter. “I am ready to bring my spirit of activism, advocacy, and leadership to Albany!”
I’m literally 24 years old and a state legislator…
— Khaleel M. Anderson (@KhaleelAnderson) November 4, 2020
In Assembly District 34, newcomer Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas grabbed more than 75 percent of the vote and in Assembly District 36, first-time candidate Zohran Kwame Mamdani ran unopposed.
Another newcomer Jenifer Rajkumar is set to become the first South Asian woman in the New York State Assembly. She gained about 70 percent of the vote in Assembly District 38.
All three beat incumbents in the June Democratic primaries.
Almost all of the races in Queens have played out as expected, but one State Assembly seat is too close to call.
Assembly Member Edward Braunstein, a Democrat, is in a close fight to keep his 26th Assembly seat representing Northeast Queens.
According to the unofficial election night results, Braunstein has about 47 percent of the votes, while his Republican challenger John-Alexander Sakelos has earned 52 percent of the total 37,432 in-person votes cast.
Sakelos is ahead by 1,791 votes with more than 96 percent of scanners reported, according to the results.
However, the race results don’t include the thousands of absentee ballots Queens voters cast amid the pandemic. The Board of Elections will begin counting absentee ballots for each race next week.
In Braunstein’s race, 14,563 voters submitted absentee ballots that have yet to be counted. The absentee ballots could sway the final results either way.