You are reading

Queens Republicans Likely to Gain a Second Council Seat After Fear of Losing Borough Representation

Republicans Joann Ariola (left) and Vickie Paladino (right) won their respective Council races, pending official tallies (Photos courtesy of each campaign)

Nov. 3, 2021 By Allie Griffin

Queens Republicans had plenty to celebrate last night — much like Republicans across the nation.

The Republican party was in jeopardy of being without representation in the World’s Borough but will likely take two seats.

The GOP were able to hold onto their previously lone council seat and will likely pick up another in a surprise upset Tuesday night.

Republicans held onto the District 32 seat — currently held by term-limited Republican Eric Ulrich — and are on track to flip the District 19 seat, which is currently represented by term-limited Democrat Paul Vallone, after votes were tallied Tuesday night.

Democrats across the city had banded together in an effort to flip the District 32 seat. They rallied behind Felicia Singh, an Ozone Park resident and educator, in an attempt to turn the borough completely blue.

Despite their campaigning, Singh was comprehensively beaten by Republican Joann Ariola, chair of the Queens Republican Party.

Ariola took 67.48 percent of the vote, while Singh garnered 31.31 percent, according to unofficial Election Night results — with 99 percent of scanners reported.

The district represents Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Rockaway Park, Roxbury, South Ozone Park, West Hamilton Beach and Woodhaven.

Its residents are split politically largely along geographic boundaries.

The northern portion of the district, Ozone Park and surrounding neighborhoods, have large immigrant communities — including Latino, Indo-Caribbean and Punjabi populations — and mostly voted for President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

The southern part of the district comprised of Broad Channel, Belle Harbor, Howard Beach, Rockaway Park and Breezy Point is majority white and voted heavily for former President Donald Trump.

The D-32 seat will continue to be represented by a Republican, despite the number of registered Democrats in the district being approximately three times that of registered Republicans.

Across the borough, the District 19 race was expected, by many, to be won by Democrat Tony Avella, who represented the district in the council from 2002 to 2009. Instead, the seat will likely be taken by Republican Vickie Paladino — effectively flipping it from blue to red.

Paladino brought in 49.72 percent of the vote, while Avella earned 42.95 percent in the tight race. A third conservative candidate, John-Alexander Sakelos took 7.08 percent.

Paladino leads Avella by 1,653 in-person votes. However, 2,208 absentee ballots — 1,610 of which were returned by registered Democrats — still need to be tallied. Some registered Democrats, however, may wind up voting for Paladino.

The D-19 seat has been represented by a Republican before. Republican Daniel Halloran held the seat from 2009 to 2013, before Vallone — the Democratic incumbent — was elected in 2013.

The district covers the neighborhoods of Auburndale, Bay Terrace, Bayside, Beechhurst, College Point, Douglaston, Flushing, Little Neck, Malba and Whitestone. Many residents, particularly in Whitestone and College Point, voted for Trump in 2020.

Paladino, a civic leader and small business owner from Whitestone, made headlines when she led an unmasked conga line at the Whitestone Republican Club party last December.

Meanwhile, Avella is also not without controversy.

He held the same council seat until 2009 when he went on to serve in the State Senate. While in the senate, Avella joined the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) — a controversial break-away group that formed an alliance with Senate Republicans — which put him out of favor with the Democratic party. John Liu defeated him in 2018.

In another Queens council race, a Democratic incumbent who ran on the Democratic, Republican and Conservative party lines in his race picked up the most votes on the Republican line.

District 30 Council Member Robert Holden ran unopposed and listed his name on all three party lines.

Holden got the majority of his votes on the Republican line — with 53.59 percent compared to 38.24 percent as a Democrat.

It’s not the first time he has technically won as a Republican despite being a registered — albeit moderate — Democrat.

Holden ran on the Republican party line in 2017 to take the seat representing Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Woodhaven and Woodside from then-incumbent Elizabeth Crowley, a Democrat. Prior to his 2017 general election win, he had lost the Democratic primary to Crowley.

During this year’s primary, Holden held off progressive challenger Juan Ardila.

While Ridgewood leans left, the rest of the district tends to be more moderate. Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth residents largely voted for Trump in 2020.

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

‘Limitless possibility’: BP Richards announces community visioning workshops on redevelopment of Creedmoor Psychiatric Center campus in Queens Village

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. and Empire State Development on Tuesday, Jan. 31, announced the launch of a series of community visioning workshops that will be held to hear input from eastern Queens residents about the redevelopment of the 50-acre Creedmoor Psychiatric Center campus in Queens Village. 

The first community visioning workshop will be held on Thursday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. at P.S./I.S. 208 located at 74-30 Commonwealth Blvd. in Glen Oaks.

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Op-Ed: This Year’s State Budget Must Prioritize Climate, Jobs, and Justice for New York

Op-Ed, Jan. 30, By Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas

In a time of rampant economic inequality and environmental injustice, it is easy to feel defeated.  Here in Queens and across New York State, however, communities are organizing for a better future. New Yorkers from different backgrounds and with different lived experiences are proving that we can build community, organize, and create a future that reflects our shared values.