Holden finally declared winner in tight race with Crowley

Holden finally declared winner in tight race with Crowley
Robert Holden clinches the race for City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley’s seat after the Board of Elections counts absentee and absentee ballots last week.
Photo by Michael Shain
By Bill Parry

Robert Holden has been a busy man since he defeated two-term incumbent City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Glendale) last week after the city’s Board of Election counted all absentee and affidavit ballots and found his margin in the race that was declared too close to call on Election Nights had increased by four votes.

Holden finished with 137 more votes than Crowley, who became the only incumbent on the City Council to lose this election cycle.

She conceded defeat early the morning after the polls closed.

“The last nine years have been some of the most rewarding and fulfilling of my entire life,” Crowley said in a statement. She did not mention Holden by name.

The two had attacked each other often during the grueling campaign, most notably on Crowley’s support of Mayor de Blasio’s plan to close Rikers Island and replace it with community jails. Holden also accused Crowley of not doing enough when the city tried to convert the Maspeth Holiday Inn Express into a homeless shelter, while Holden led nightly protests for months.

Crowley easily defeated Holden with nearly 64 percent of the vote in September’s Democratic primary, but the Queens GOP gave him its Republican party line, which he ran on along with the Conservative, Reform and Dump de Blasio lines.

Holden captured more than 8,400 votes on the Republican line, according to unofficial BOE results.

The longtime president of the Juniper Park Civic Association declared victory on Election Night when Holden captured 10,221 votes to Crowley’s 10,088 , but the councilwoman chose to fight, hoping a count of the absentee ballots and paper votes would pull her into the lead.

It did not, and now Holden, 66, is Councilman-elect.

“It sounds good to me, I still can’t believe it, I’m slapping myself,” Holden said . “I’m getting phone calls from everyone, it’s been insane. But I’ll tell you what. It feels good because I’m the victor, but it’s a real whirlwind.”

In the week since, Holden has done multiple TV interviews, started to form a transition team, and even found time to help honor new Eagle Scout Michael Sammons Saturday at St. Mary’s Church in Woodside.

The BOE will certify Council District 30’s final result along with the rest of the city’s races Nov. 28.

“The results of this election will not change my commitment to public service,” Crowley continued. “I intend to spend the remaining weeks of my term in office working tirelessly on behalf of my constituents. Whatever the future holds, I will bring the same passion and dedication to fighting for our community that I brought to my work as Councilmember.”

Crowley announced Tuesday that the city Department of Transportation would install traffic calming measures in front of Maspeth Town Hall with speed bumps along 72nd Street . She also said she had met with the Lippman Commission and spoke about the need to close Rikers Island and the proposal to use the Queens Detention Complex in Kew Gardens as the borough’s jail.

With Crowley in Holden’s rearview mirror on the road to City Hall where he will be sworn in Jan. 1, a different target of his criticism will soon be in close proximity: Mayor Bill de Blasio

In post-election comments to reporters, de Blasio said of Holden “he’s obviously a Republican and we don’t share values and I’ll try to work with him although I suspect we won’t see eye to eye on most issues.”

Holden agreed the two men don’t share the same values.

“This mayor wants a one party socialist Marxist regime and anyone who thinks differently than him is the enemy,” Holden said. “He judges people based on labels and that is something he should be against. Instead he badmouths the Republican Party as no good and that’s the type of approach that put this country in such a divisive mess. Did I run on the Republican line? Yeah. Am I a registered Democrat? Yeah, but the bottom line is I’m apolitical. I’m a civic leader and I’m going to work with anyone that can help my community and my constituents.”

Still, Holden hopes to work with the mayor and the city’s Department of Homeless Services to enact a plan to combat homelessness. He helped write the State Reform Party’s homeless plan, which he hopes to introduce at City Hall.

Holden is unsure whether he will go to the Council as a Republican or Democrat.

“I’m not even thinking about that,” he said. “It’s the furthest thing on my mind. I will likely caucus with whoever can do the most for my community and my constituents. That’s all I care about.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr[email protected]local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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