Elizabeth Crowley conceded in the Democratic primary race for Queens borough president on Friday, July 16, nearly four weeks after the June 22 election.
Incumbent Borough President Donovan Richards previously declared victory on July 6, and while the city Board of Elections (BOE) has yet to certify the election, Crowley knew it was over.
“With the BOE opening and counting the final ballots yesterday, it has become clear that the numbers are just not there for us to win the democratic nomination,” Crowley said. “This is not the result we were hoping for, but looking back, I feel incredibly proud of the campaign we ran.”
The former city councilwoman ran against her former colleague Richards in last year’s special election to replace Melinda Katz, who vacated the office to take over as Queens District Attorney. Crowley lost to Richards by 12,000 votes but closed the gap considerably in the primary.
“First, I owe a huge thank you to all those that made this campaign possible: my staff who worked long hours and late nights to put us in a position to win, all of our volunteers who braved the cold to gather petitions in March and the heat to knock on doors in June, and to everyone who made a contribution that allowed us to run a true grassroots campaign,” Crowley said.
On Tuesday, July 13, Crowley spoke at a City Hall Park celebration for 21 in ‘21, the advocacy group she co-founded in 2017 with a goal of getting more women elected to the City Council. According to the unofficial results from the city’s Board of Elections, the City Council is now poised to have as many as 30 women elected to serve, 26 of whom are women of color.
“This was a truly historic election, held in the midst of a pandemic and post pandemic recovery,” Crowley said on July 16. “Voters knew what was at stake and voted in record numbers with almost 200,000 Queens residents casting a ballot in this race, more than we have seen in generations, and I am proud that we received 49.7 percent of their votes in the final round.”
After he declared victory, Richards shocked many by posting “We beat your racist ass” on Twitter followed by a cryptic reference to Black Lives Matter.
We beat your racist ass.
— Donovan Richards (@DRichardsQNS) July 7, 2021
The following day, Richards was unapologetic in a statement released through his campaign.
“Since our victory in the June 2020 Democratic primary, Ms. Crowley has repeatedly insinuated that she would have won if not for the death of George Floyd and the ensuing Black Lives Matter movement across our country,” Richards said.
Crowley said she was “extremely disappointed by the slanderous and untruthful remarks made by” Richards.
On Friday, Crowley appeared to make reference to the episode.
“Politics is a tough business, and it can bring out the worst in some, but running in this race showed me once again how much we all have in common,” Crowley said in conclusion. “Although I am conceding this race, I assure you that I am optimistic about the future of Queens, and I will continue to work for a stronger Queens for our families.”
Richards will now face Republican Thomas Zmich of Bayside, a Gulf War veteran and retired construction manager and union leader who previously mounted a challenge to Congresswoman Grace Meng. Zmich ran a campaign with an agenda that included promoting constitutional rights, support for law enforcement, and implementing a nationwide civics accountability course for high school students.
“I am so thankful to everyone who supported our campaign and put their trust in me to continue to serve as borough president,” Richards said. “We’ve worked hard throughout these first months in office to ensure that every Queens resident is represented at Borough Hall, and we will continue to make sure that the diversity of our borough is represented. Now we must work together to build a Queens that works for everyone.”
This article was updated on Sunday, July 18 at 1:00 p.m.