While most of the electoral drama in the 2017 citywide election ended with September’s Democratic primary, the Nov. 7 general election still has a few contentious City Council races that should spark Queens voters’ interest.
This year, Queens voters are asked to form their next city government, with all citywide offices on the ballot. There are also several judicial seats on the line along with three statewide ballot referendums (more on that to follow).
Perhaps the most fiery contest in Queens is the 30th City Council District race between Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley and Juniper Park Civic Association President Robert Holden. It’s a rematch of the September primary in which Crowley soundly defeated Holden, who vowed to continue on as the candidate of the Conservative and Reform parties.
Since then, Holden also secured the Republican Party nomination after the party’s previous choice, Joseph Kasper, dropped out to pursue a judgeship. With the 30th District including some of the few Queens areas that went for Donald Trump in last year’s presidential election, the GOP line could prove valuable in Holden’s quest to unseat Crowley, a two-term incumbent with whom Holden has clashed on myriad civic issues.
The 30th District includes Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village, as well as parts of Ridgewood, Woodhaven and Woodside.
Another primary rematch focuses on the 19th Council District in northeast Queens. Councilman Paul Vallone defeated urban planner Paul Graziano in September, but Graziano is continuing his campaign into the general election as the Reform Party nominee. Unlike the 30th District races, there’s a third wheel in the 19th District contest, as Konstantinos Poulidis of Bayside is the Republican nominee.
The 19th District covers Auburndale, Bay Terrace, Bayside, Beechhurst, College Point, Douglaston, Flushing, Little Neck, Malba and Whitestone.
Staying in northeast Queens, Councilman Barry Grodenchik — who won the 23rd City Council District seat in a 2015 special election — is seeking his first full term in office. The Democratic incumbent is being challenged by former NYPD Captain Joe Concannon, the Republican and Conservative nominee, who lost to Grodenchik in the 2015 contest.
Areas of Bayside, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood, Little Neck and Queens Village are part of the 23rd District.
Queens’ lone Republican elected official — Councilman Eric Ulrich — is seeking a third and final term as representative of the 32nd Council District covering much of southwest Queens and the Rockaways. He’s being challenged by the Democratic nominee, Mike Scala, a former state Senate legislative director. The 32nd District covers 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.
Less drama in other City Council races
The other City Council races in Queens, some of which lack any competition whatsoever, include the following:
20th District (Flushing): Incumbent Councilman Peter Koo will get another term in office unopposed; he defeated Alison Tan Kim in the September Democratic primary.
21st District (East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, and Corona in Queens, including Flushing Meadows Corona Park, LeFrak City): Assemblyman Francisco Moya is unopposed and will succeed the outgoing Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland as the district’s City Council member. Moya defeated former state Senator Hiram Monserrate in the Democratic primary.
22nd District (Astoria, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside): Incumbent Councilman Costa Constantinides has just one challenger: Kathleen Springer of Astoria, who’s running on the “Dive In” party line.
24th District (Kew Gardens Hills, Pomonok, Electchester, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood, Parkway Village, Jamaica Hills, Jamaica): Incumbent Councilman Rory Lancman is facing Reform Party nominee Mohammad T. Rahman, whom he soundly defeated in the September primary.
25th District (Elmhurst, Jackson Heights): Incumbent Councilman Daniel Dromm won’t have to campaign this November, as he’s running unopposed and will get another term in office.
26th District (Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City, Astoria, Dutch Kills): Incumbent Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer is facing a challenge from local veterans activist Marvin Jeffcoat of Woodside, who’s running on the Republican and Conservative lines.
27th District (Cambria Heights, Hollis, Jamaica, St. Albans, Queens Village, and Springfield Gardens): Incumbent Councilman I. Daneek Miller is expected to easily win re-election against two challengers: Republican Rupert Green of St. Albans and Green Party nominee Frank Francois of Queens Village.
28th District (Jamaica, Rochdale, South Ozone Park): Community Board 12 Adrienne Adams, who defeated two others in the September primary, is the favorite to win election to the City Council seat formerly held by the expelled Ruben Wills. Two challengers stand in her way: Republican nominee Ivan D. Mossop Jr. and Working Families candidate Hettie V. Powell, who previously lost to Adams in the primary.
29th District (Rego Park, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill): Incumbent Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz will be back at City Hall in January, as she’s running unopposed for another term in office.
31st District (Arverne, Brookville, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens): Incumbent Councilman Donovan Richards will also gain another term in office, as no one is challenging him in the November election.
Topping the ballot
The mayoral race leads the municipal election ballot. Despite being a polarizing figure among Queens voters, Mayor Bill de Blasio is favored to win a second term in office. Six challengers are on the ballot with him: Republican Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis; private investigator and pundit Bo Dietl, running on the independent “Dump the Mayor” line; Green Party candidate Akeem Browder; former Councilman Sal Albanese, the Reform Party nominee; Libertarian candidate Aaron Commey; and Michael Tolkin, who’s running on the “Smart Cities” independent line.
Public Advocate Letitia James, the city’s second-highest-ranking elected official, is also expected to easily win a second term in office. She’s facing four challengers: Juan Carlos Polanco of the Bronx, running on the Republican, Conservative, Reform and “Stop de Blasio” lines; Michael A. O’Reilly of Far Rockaway, the Conservative Party nominee; Brooklyn’s James C. Lane, the Green Party choice; and Libertarian nominee Devin Balkind of Brooklyn.
City Comptroller Scott Stringer, the city’s financial watchdog, also is expected to win another term in office. Challenging him are Michel J. Faulkner of Brooklyn, who’s on the Republican, Conservative, Reform and “Stop de Blasio” lines; Julia Willebrand of Manhattan, the Green Party nominee; and Libertarian candidate Alex Merced of Brooklyn.
Queens’ top elected official, Melinda Katz, is seeking a second term as borough president. She’s facing former fire marshal William Kregler of Woodside, the Republican and Conservative nominee, and Everly D. Brown of Rosedale, who’s running on the “Homeowners NYCHA” ballot line.
Special election and judgeships
Residents of the 27th Assembly District covering much of northeast Queens will also vote in a special election to fill the seat once held by Assemblyman Mike Simanowitz, who died in September. There’s only one candidate for the slot: Democrat Daniel Rosenthal of Flushing, a City Council staffer. The Assembly district covers a swath of central Queens stretching from College Point and Whitestone down through Flushing and into Forest Hills, Kew Gardens and Richmond Hill.
Across Queens, residents will also be asked to select six Justices of the New York State Supreme Court’s 11th Judicial District. The candidates on the ballot include Richard Latin, Democrat; Joseph Kasper, Republican and Conservative; Jodi Orlow-Mackoff, Democrat and Conservative; James J. Kevins Jr., Republican; Ulysses B. Leverett, Democrat; Woodruff Carroll, Republican; David Elliott, Democrat, Republican and Conservative; Gregory L. Lasak, Democrat, Republican and Conservative; and Michael B. Aloise, Democrat, Republican and Conservative.
Four Democrats are running unopposed for Civil Court Judgeships on the Election Day ballot: John C. Katsanos of Astoria (1st District); Tracy A. Catapano-Fox of Howard Beach (3rd District); Maurice E. Muir of Jamaica (4th District); and Phillip Horn of Flushing (6th District).
Be sure to flip the ballot on Election Day and vote yes or no on three statewide ballot referendums.
The first referendum is also the most contentious of the three; Proposal Number 1 asks voters whether to approve a convention to revise and amend the State Constitution. Supporters say the constitutional convention would bring about various reforms in state government generated by the people, while detractors charge that a convention would open the door to special interest meddling that could result in laws that harm New Yorkers.
This referendum, per the State Constitution, is on the ballot every 20 years; it was defeated in 1997.
The other two ballot questions are less controversial. Proposal Number 2 asks voters whether to allow an amendment to the State Constitution that would allow a court to revoke a public official’s pension if he or she is convicted of a felony. Proposal Number 3 asks voters if they want the state to create a “land account” of up to 250 acres of forest preserve for specific purposes to benefit public health and safety.
How to vote
The polls will be open from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Nov. 7; if you’re in line to vote just before the polls close, you will be able to cast a ballot.
Polling sites may have changed in the last year; the city Board of Elections mailed notices to registered voters weeks ago. If you’re unsure of where to vote, click here to search the NYC Poll Site Locator by your home address, or call 212-VOTE-NYC for more information.
If you are registered to vote but your name is not on the voting roll for unknown reasons, you have the right to ask for an affidavit ballot to cast your vote. See a poll worker for further assistance.
To read more about any of the candidates or ballot questions, visit the NYC Voters Guide.