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Early Front Runners in Queens Council Races Cement Leads Following RCV Count

New York City Council Districts

July 4, 2021 By Allie Griffin

Several candidates who secured healthy leads in Queens primary races on Election Day have seemingly cemented their victories after ranked choice vote counts were released Friday.

The leading candidates were able to secure a majority of votes after the Board of Elections (BOE) completed its ranked choice voting reports at around 10 p.m. Friday. The results, however, don’t include absentee ballots that are expected to be tabulated later this week.

Candidates who had big leads on election night were in Council Districts 19, 22, 25 and 27. Some were close to getting the 50 percent of first-choice votes they needed to win their respective races outright—but just fell short.

Therefore, the city’s new ranked choice voting system had to be used to ultimately determine the winner.

Tiffany Cabán, who had 49.3 percent of first choice votes in the D-22 race in Astoria, has solidified her win.

Cabán generated 62.5 percent of the vote after three rounds of ranked choice voting. Runner-up Evie Hantzopoulos took 37.5 percent of the vote.

Cabán, a former public defender, declared victory on the night of the primary, given how close she was to the 50 percent threshold.

In Council District 19, Tony Avella, a former state senator and city council member, took 53.8 percent of the vote after four rounds of ranked choice voting. He took 37.1 percent of first-choice votes on election night.

Avella will likely reclaim his old Bayside council seat, which he held from 2002 to 2009, although 2,862 absentee ballots are still to be counted. Richard Lee came in second place with 46.2 percent of the vote after the ranked choice votes were tabulated.

Meanwhile in Council District 25, Shekar Krishnan is on a path to victory to represent Jackson Heights and Elmhurst. The civil rights lawyer generated 61 percent of the vote after ranked choice voting was applied.

Yi (Andy) Chen was second in the D-25 race with 33.8 percent of the vote after ranked choice votes were tabulated.

A few council districts over, in District 27, Nantasha Williams secured a majority of votes after 13 rounds of ranked choice voting was applied with 72.4 percent. She was followed by James Johnson who earned 27.6 percent.

There were a number of races with razor thin margins following election night where ranked choice voting will determine the winner.

Julie Won and Amit Bagga, who were among 15 candidates in the D-26 race in western Queens, were separated by a mere 125 votes on June 22. However, following 15 rounds of ranked choice voting Won has a significant lead that is unlikely to be overcome when absentee ballots are counted.

In Council District 23, Linda Lee appears to have secured victory with 53.2 percent of the vote following six rounds of ranked choice voting. However, Jaslin Kaur is close behind with 48.8 percent of the vote and there remain 3,451 absentee ballots to be counted.

Another tight race on election night was in District 29, where Lynn Schulman had a narrow lead over Aleda Gagarin for the Forest Hills seat. However, following eight rounds of ranked choice voting Schulman pulled away with 58 percent of the vote to Gagarin’s 42 percent.

Meanwhile, the Flushing council seat will likely go to Sandra Ung, who on election night had 24.28 percent of the first choice votes.

Ung won 55.7 percent of the votes following six rounds of ranked choice voting. Ellen Young came in second with 44.3 percent of the vote.

In District 32, Felicia Singh extended her narrow lead ahead of Mike Scala.

Singh brought in 52.6 percent of the vote compared to Scala’s 47.4 percent following three rounds of ranked choice voting.

On election night, Singh had 36.23 percent of first choice votes compared to Scala’s 34.96 percent.

The Queens Borough President race remains close, although Donovan Richards who was up 2,076 votes on election night stretched his lead to 3,313 following ranked choice voting. However, the race is far from over with 35,550 absentee ballots still to be counted.

Meanwhile, all the incumbent Council Members in Queens — Francisco Moya, James Gennaro, Adrienne Adams, Robert Holden and Selvena Brooks-Powers — won their respective elections outright on June 22 by earning more than 50 percent of first-choice votes.

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