June 24, 2020 By Allie Griffin
Council Member Donovan Richards has clinched an early lead in the race to be the next Queens Borough President — though the official winner won’t be announced for at least a week.
Richards, the Queens Democratic party pick, had about 37 percent of the votes in the Democratic primary for the position, according to the unofficial results from the NYC Board of Elections — with about 97 percent of scanners reported at around 6:15 a.m. Wednesday.
The results are far from final, since an unprecedented number of absentee ballots have yet to be counted. The BOE will begin counting absentee ballots by hand after June 30.
Tonight’s unofficial results are gathered from in-person ballots cast Tuesday and during early voting.
Richards, however, has a significant lead in what is a crowded race.
Former Council Member Elizabeth Crowley took about 28 percent of votes; Council Member Costa Constantinides secured about 15 percent; retired NYPD sergeant Anthony Miranda got about 15 percent and Flushing businessman Dao Yin earned just under 5 percent, according to the unofficial results.
The winner of the primary will take on Republican Joann Ariola, Queens GOP Chair, in the November general election — which will determine who will serve as borough president in 2021. The Democratic candidate is almost assured to win.
The BP seat was vacated by Melinda Katz in January, when she became the borough’s District Attorney.
Richards is likely to win the primary, although the unprecedented number of absentee votes could still have an impact.
Richards, who lives in Laurelton with his wife and young son, has represented Southeast Queens in the city council since 2013. He ran on four key campaign issues — criminal justice reform; affordable housing and job creation; immigrant rights; and public transportation improvements.
Richards was endorsed by the Queens County Democratic Party for Borough President in December.
Hate it or love it the underdogs on top!!!!
— Donovan Richards (@DRichards13) June 24, 2020
Borough presidents serve as advocates for the borough, but cannot create or pass laws. However, they do decide how a multi-million dollar budget is spent, weigh in on major land use decisions, appoint members of local community boards and hold public hearings.
The Office is currently filled on an interim basis by Acting Borough President Sharon Lee.
Katz appointed Lee to take over the position at the beginning of the year. Lee will serve as borough president through December 31.