Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke out Wednesday regarding the extremely tight Queens City Council race in which two-term incumbent Elizabeth Crowley is in serious danger of losing her seat to civic leader Robert Holden.
The results remain unofficial, but Holden has a 133-vote lead on Crowley, who on Wednesday morning declined to concede the race until all the votes are counted. Later in the afternoon, during a press conference at City Hall, a reporter asked de Blasio about the prospect of working with Holden if he’s declared the winner of the 30th Council District seat, which covers Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Woodhaven and Woodside.
“I don’t know him. He’s obviously a Republican, and we don’t share values,” de Blasio responded. “I’ll try and work with him, although I suspect we won’t see eye-to-eye on issues.”
Another reporter later, in a follow-up question to the mayor, pointed out that Holden is a longtime registered Democrat; the Middle Village civic leader lost to Crowley in the September primary, but continued his campaign through third parties and later picked up the Republican Party’s nomination.
De Blasio responded that he didn’t “understand Democrats who run as a Republican,” and further suggested that Holden aligned himself with President Donald Trump when he accepted the Republican voting line.
“If you can run as a Republican in Donald Trump’s America, you just bought the whole label,” de Blasio said. “I don’t know the guy; I’ll try and work with him, but he just signed up for something very troubling in my book.”
When asked about what went wrong for Crowley — who risks being the lone Democrat to lose their City Council seat to a Republican this election cycle — de Blasio was at a loss.
“Look, I don’t know what happened there, because the overall trend in the city went the other way,” he told reporters, “so I don’t know what happened there.”
They may not know each other, but the mayor and Holden are polar opposites when it comes to a number of issues. As Juniper Park Civic Association president, Holden opposed de Blasio on myriad issues from bike lanes to a proposed homeless shelter in Maspeth. During a June JPCA meeting, in which mayoral candidate Sal Albanese made an appearance, Holden remarked, “Any opponent to Bill de Blasio is a favorite of ours.”
When contacted by QNS, Holden said that the mayor’s remarks suggested to him that de Blasio “apparently wants a one-party system in the United States” as a “socialist country or a Marxist country.” Holden dismissed the notion that he belonged to either Democrats, Republicans or any political party in general — and would look to remain apolitical if the results stand and he becomes City Council member.
“I’m not beholden to parties,” Holden said. “They [the Republicans] liked me. I didn’t seek their nomination; they came to me and asked, ‘Do you want it?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ I’m a moderate Democrat or a Reagan Democrat … I’m conservative on some issues and progressive on others.”
“Obviously, he’s being very general about me, he’s listening to the wrong people,” Holden added. “He should meet with me and talk with me.”
You can watch the full press conference below (de Blasio addresses the first question on the Holden-Crowley race at the 25:51 mark).