Nov. 17, 2020 By Allie Griffin
Two Democratic incumbents in Queens who were behind their Republican challengers on election night have surged ahead with absentee ballots now being counted.
Northeast Queens Assembly Member Edward Braunstein has declared victory in the 26th Assembly race thanks to a bump from absentee votes, while Rep. Tom Suozzi now leads in the election for the 3rd Congressional district which covers parts of eastern Queens, Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
At the state level, Braunstein was trailing his Republic challenger, John-Alexander Sakelos, by more than a thousand votes on Election Night. However, he was able to make up the deficit through absentee voters — who typically lean more Democratic.
The incumbent secured more than 75 percent of the absentee ballots in the 26th Assembly district that covers Auburndale, Bayside, Whitestone and adjacent neighborhoods, and gained an approximately 5,000-vote lead, he said in a statement.
“Now that the absentee ballots have been counted, I am proud to report that I have won re-election and will continue to represent the people of the 26th Assembly District…,” Braunstein said. “It has truly been a privilege to represent our community for the last 10 years and I am honored to have been given the opportunity to continue to serve as your Assemblymember.”
Meanwhile, Suozzi has taken the lead in his race for U.S. Congress, although absentee ballots are still being counted.
Suozzi has come out ahead of his Republican challenger George Santos by roughly 13,000 votes, he said at a press conference Monday.
He was down about 4,000 votes from the in-person voting results, but was able to pick up about 17,000 votes from the 30,000 absentee ballots counted thus far, he said.
About a quarter of the votes in his race were submitted via absentee ballots. The local boards of elections for New York City and Nassau County began counting the absentee ballots last week, while Suffolk County’s board started to count them just yesterday.
Still, Suozzi said he is very confident he will keep his seat as about 79 percent of the absentee ballots counted thus far have been in his favor.
He predicts he’ll win the election by more than 20,000 votes.
“When it’s all said and done, I’ll win by over 20,000 votes — I actually think it’ll be significantly more than that,” Suozzi said.
However, the Congress Member has not officially declared his win.
“I’m not declaring victory officially yet,” he said Monday. “I just believe that I will win once the votes are all counted.”