After a years-long process of campaigning, the 2021 New York City Elections have finally come and gone, and while it wasn’t an overwhelming sweep for Republicans, some fared better in City Council races than might have been expected.
In fact, in some current tight races go in the GOP’s favor, the party could double the number of seats they hold in the City Council from three to six.
On paper, the city- and borough-wide races followed closely to projections. Eric Adams defeated Republican opponent Curtis Sliwa by nearly 400,000 votes in the mayor’s race.
The Democratic landslide continued across the major offices, with the Brad Lander and Jumaane Williams easily winning their bids for comptroller and public advocate, respectively. Donovan Richards held on the post of Queens borough president, while Democrat Antonio Reynoso easily won the same post in Brooklyn.
But several local offices were won by Republicans, with some still too close to call. No small victory in a city where Democrats have a huge advantage in registered voters.
Republican Vickie Paladino pulled out an unlikely upset in this northeastern Queens district, defeating for councilman and state senator Tony Avella to flip the seat to the GOP. Paladino earned 49.8 percent of the vote to Avella’s 43.2 percent. John-Alexander Sakelos, who lost to Paladino in the Republican Primary earned 7.2 percent of the vote running on the Conservative line.
The race for District 32 in south Queens and the Rockaways was nowhere near as close.
Queens Republican Party chair Joann Ariola fended off Democratic challenger Felicia Singh, winning by a margin of 16,040 to 7,443 votes. Ariola will replace Eric Ulrich on the City Council, who prior to Tuesday was the sole Republican council member from Queens.
Ariola’s win comes after a nasty campaign season. Singh constantly portrayed Ariola as a pro-Trump Republican, while Ariola referred to her opponent as a radical leftist. The animosity culminated when Singh was forced to call off a campaign event with Senator Chuck Schumer after Ariola supporters made violent threats.
Although Democrats won every other seat in Brooklyn, the race for District 43, which includes Bay Ridge and parts of Dyker Heights, is still up in the air. As of Thursday morning, Fox lead Brannan by 255 votes with just over 97 percent of the precinct reporting. Mail-in ballots are expected to factor into the final results, so it could be a while before a winner is declared.
Throughout the campaign, Brian Fox — a political newcomer — labeled himself as a common sense candidate, advocating to increase the police budget. However, Brannan’s campaign and community advocates raised many red flags regarding the Republican challenger’s history.
Local podcast Radio Free Bay Ridge highlighted a series of tweets Fox liked, including tweets rejecting Joe Biden’s presidential election and another vowing to “make Bay Ridge white again.”
Brannan’s name was being discussed among the contenders for the next speaker of the City Council, now he is fighting to hold onto his seat.
In another race that is too close too call, Democrat Ari Kagan held a 283-vote lead over Republican Mark Szuszkiewicz with just 56 percent of precincts reporting. The district includes Bensonhurst and Coney Island. Szuszkiewicz nearly beat Assemblywoman Mathylde Frontus for that seat last year.
In Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay, divorce attorney Inna Vernikov easily defeated her Democratic challenger Steve Saperstein in what many thought would be a close race. They were vying to replace Chaim Deutsch, who resigned from the seat when he was convicted of tax fraud earlier this year.
In other Republican victories, David Carr won a City Council seat on Staten Island.