Suozzi, Braunstein take lead in vote count as absentee ballots get tallied

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Two Queens lawmakers who faced Election Day vote count deficits against Republican challengers have both taken the lead in their respective races after absentee ballots began to be tallied last week.

Congressman Tom Suozzi and New York State Assemblyman Edward Braunstein both have received the vast majority of absentee votes in their districts as of Monday, Nov. 16. While neither race has been formally certified by the New York City Board of Elections, both lawmakers appear to be headed back to their posts come January.

In Suozzi’s race against Republican George Santos in the Third Congressional District, the incumbent took an approximately 13,000-vote lead in the count, after trailing by 4,171 votes after Election Day.

“I’m very happy that I’m going to be returning to my position,” Suozzi said on Monday. “I’m even more confident now then I was then.”

While only around 30 percent of the absentee ballots cast in Suozzi’s district have been counted, he’s so far won about 79 percent of the absentee votes counted. With about 60,000 absentee ballots left to count in Queens, Suffolk County and Nassau County, Suozzi predicts he’ll win the race by 20,000 votes.

“I’m not declaring victory just yet. I just think that I will win once all the votes are counted,” Suozzi said.

Santos conceded to the incumbent on Tuesday, Nov. 17, as the ballots continued to be counted.

“There may be more announcements coming from me in the near future regarding next steps, but for right now, I would like to congratulate Congressman Tom Suozzi,” Santos said in a statement. “We wish him well going forward for the benefit of our district and constituents.”

The absentee ballots cast in the congressional race will likely be fully counted by the end of the week. While Queens and Nassau began counting the ballots in the race on Wednesday, Nov. 11, Board of Elections workers in Suffolk began counting the ballots on Monday, Nov. 16.

In northeast Queens, Braunstein trailed Republican John-Alexander Sakelos by 1,791 votes following the Election Day count.

While the results are yet to be certified, the absentee ballot count is finished in Assembly District 26 and the incumbent leads by approximately 5,000 votes.

“Now that the absentee ballots have been counted, I am proud to report that I have won re-election and will continue to represent the people of the 26th Assembly District,” Braunstein, who won 75 percent of the absentee votes, said in a statement. “I want to thank the residents of northeast Queens for supporting our positive campaign and giving me the opportunity to continue serving our community in Albany.”

Sakelos did not respond to QNS’ request for comment before press time.

This story was updated at 1:36 p.m., on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020.