Mail-in ballot counting started in New York City last Monday, which could affect the outcomes in close contests for Congress, State Senate and Assembly.
In New York’s 11th Congressional District, encompassing Staten Island and parts of southern Brooklyn, first-term Democrat Max Rose fell behind Republican challenger Nicole Malliotakis by more than 37,000 votes on the night of the election.
Not including mail-in ballots, Malliotakis, an assemblywoman and former mayoral candidate, is leading with 57 percent of the vote so far, compared to Rose’s 43 percent. She declared victory last Tuesday.
Rose did not concede, telling his supporters on Staten Island that there were more than 40,000 absentee ballots that were returned, with potentially 10,000 more in the mail.
“As a soldier who fought for our democracy, I believe every vote must be counted,” he said. “I know my opponent will join me in ensuring that the Board of Elections must conduct a fair and transparent process that demonstrates the strength of our democracy, not undermines it.”
In the 14th Congressional District, representing parts of Queens and the Bronx, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won a second term against Republican challenger John Cummings.
Despite tens of millions of dollars being poured into the race, Cummings only garnered slightly over 30 percent of the vote, not including mail-in ballots.
“Serving NY-14 and fighting for working class families in Congress has been the greatest honor, privilege and responsibility of my life,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on November 3. “Thank you to the Bronx and Queens for re-electing me to the House despite the millions spent against us, and trusting me to represent you once more.”
Democratic incumbents Tom Suozzi, Grace Meng, Nydia Velazquez, Hakeem Jeffries, Yvette Clarke, Jerry Nadler and Adriano Espaillat are all ahead of their Republican challengers, in most cases by wide margins. Only Suozzi, who represents a district that includes a portion of eastern Queens and Long Island, is locked in a close race.
In the race for Queens borough president, Councilman Donovan Richards won with roughly two-thirds of the vote before counting mail-in ballots. Republican nominee Joann Ariola, who received 30 percent of the vote, conceded.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Ariola wrote that her campaign “gave a voice to common sense voters” in the borough.
“Though we did not prevail in this race, that voice was heard far beyond party registration and will only continue to grow louder as we head into 2021,” Ariola said. “I will always proudly stand with you, as we continue to fight for sane government, public safety and to make life better for everyone in Queens.”
According to the Board of Elections’ unofficial election night results, Richards dominated the southeast Queens area, as well as parts of western Queens. Ariola fared better in northeast and portions of central Queens.
Dao Yin, who ran under the the self-created Red Dragon Party, received roughly 2 percent of the vote. His best showing was in Flushing, Fresh Meadows and other nearby neighborhoods.
In a tweet, Richards simply posted the message, “Thank you Queens.”
“This victory belongs to you,” he tweeted. “Let’s get to work.”
In other local races, State Senator John Liu topped GOP challenger Elisa Nahoum with nearly 58 percent of the vote, not including mail-in ballots. In a statement, Liu said it is a “tremendous honor” to be returned by voters for a second term.
“I am grateful to the voters for the opportunity to serve,” he said, “and will continue to work day and night in the interests of the people and the community.”
In the 15th State Senate District, which runs from Maspeth, Middle Village and Forest Hills down to Howard Beach and parts of the Rockaways, incumbent State Senator Joseph Addabbo is ahead of second-time GOP nominee Thomas Sullivan, 53 percent to 46 percent.
Addabbo is leading by 6,846 votes, and the mail-in ballots could decide the fate of the race.
Another close race is in south Brooklyn, where State Senator Andrew Gounardes, who ousted longtime Republican Marty Golden two years ago, is now trailing the GOP nominee, Vito Bruno, by 8 percent, or slightly over 6,000 votes.
On Twitter, the first-term Democrat wrote that there are nearly 13,000 mail-in ballots which have been returned, in addition to other ballots that have not yet been processed or received.
“The outcome of this election hinges on these votes,” he wrote, “and I am confident that once these votes are counted, we will prevail.”
In the Assembly, longtime Assemblyman Edward Braunstein, who represents the eastern Queens district that includes Bayside and Little Neck, has fallen behind Republican candidate John-Alexander Sakelos by 1,791 votes, or nearly 5 percent.
Assemblyman Ron Kim, meanwhile, resoundingly defeated challenger Steven Lee, who lost to Kim in the Democratic primary but ran again under the Justice & Peace Party.
Kim received nearly 83 percent of the vote, while Lee collected just 16.6 percent.