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Two Second Place Candidates in Tight Council Races Concede

Jaslin Kaur (left) and Aleda Gagarin (Respective Council Campaigns)

July 6, 2021 By Allie Griffin

Two second-place candidates in tight council races in Queens conceded to their opponents over the weekend.

Candidates Jaslin Kaur and Aleda Gagarin both conceded in their races after preliminary ranked choice voting results were released Friday night.

Kaur and Gagarin trailed the frontrunners in their respective races on election night by a narrow margin, but after ranked choice voting was deployed, the gaps widened.

Kaur was behind leading candidate Linda Lee in the District 23 race by 533 first-choice votes, but after six rounds of ranked choice voting, she fell behind by 696 total votes. Lee ultimately won 53.2 percent of votes — ahead of Kaur’s 46.8 percent.

The preliminary tally, however, doesn’t include 3,451 absentee ballots sent in by Democrats in the district. Nevertheless, Kaur still conceded.

“The final tabulations have not been certified, but it is clear that, though we led for part of the ranked choice process, we will finish a close second in the final round,” Kaur said in a statement Monday. “Congratulations to the winner, Linda Lee.”

Should Lee win, she will represent the neighborhoods of Bayside Hills, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, Oakland Gardens and Queens Village.

The D-23 seat is currently held by Council Member Barry Grodenchik, who decided against running for another term despite being eligible.

Meanwhile, Gagarin conceded in the District 29 race on Saturday.

“Looking at early RCV results, it seems unlikely that I’ll have the honor of representing the 29th district in the Council,” she said in a statement. “I am disappointed, to be sure. But I am also so damn proud of the loving campaign and community we built together.”

She trailed Lynn Schulman by just 221 first-choice votes, but ultimately lost by 1,581 votes after eight rounds of ranked choice voting. Schulman secured 58 percent of votes and Gagarin earned 42 percent.

The tally for the seat representing Rego Park, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens and Richmond Hill doesn’t include 3,846 absentee ballots returned by Democrats in District 29.

Still Gagarin congratulated Schulman on her presumed win.

“What a beautiful thing to see two deeply experienced, capable, LGBTQIA+ women take such strong leads in our district,” she said. “I look forward to continuing to build a loving and caring city.”

Meanwhile in Districts 26 and 32 — two other tight races in which the frontrunners pulled ahead after the ranked choice voting process was applied — neither runner-up has conceded. Amit Bagga is behind Julie Won in the District 26 race, while Mike Scala trails Felicia Singh in District 32.

The Board of Elections is expected to release new ranked choice results — with the absentee ballots factored in — later today. The Board is not expected to certify the results until sometime next week.

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