Republican candidate Vickie Paladino edged former state Senator and Councilman Tony Avella with nearly 50% of the vote, with 99% of the scanners reporting, to capture the District 19 seat on the City Council held by term-limited Paul Vallone. While Paladino is leading in the race, according to the city’s Board of Elections unofficial results, absentee ballots must be counted. The absentee ballot count begins next week.
But Paladino is confident she’ll emerge victorious.
“Tonight our district voted for change, and I’m honored to be the instrument of that change,” said Paladino, after celebrating with around 80 supporters and volunteers crammed into her campaign office on Tuesday, Nov. 2.
“We have a lot of work to do, and I promise to deliver the transparency and action we so desperately need, fighting every day for the issues most important to our neighborhoods,” Paladino said.
District 19 includes Bayside, College Point, Whitestone, Malba, Douglaston, Little Neck, North Flushing and Auburndale.
Avella represented District 19 in the City Council from 2002 to 2009 before serving eight years in the New York State Senate. He defeated five other Democrats in the primary, but was out of politics for the last two years after losing his 2018 re-election bid to state Senator John Liu in the primary. Liu defeated Paladino in that year’s general election.
Avella has not conceded the race.
“I want to thank all of my supporters and volunteers who worked tirelessly on our campaign. I am proud of the positive and issued-based campaign,” Avella said Thursday. “Although we are behind in the count from Election Day, we want to ensure that every vote will be counted. Absentee ballots are still arriving at the Board of Elections and will be added to the count to determine the final vote.”
Paladino leads Avella by 1,653 votes, according to a Board of Election update Wednesday afternoon.
“We ran a true grassroots campaign here, and I’m so proud of all my volunteers and my campaign staff who worked tirelessly to deliver this win against all odds,” Paladino said.
A small business owner for more than three decades and a community activist, Paladino was driven to run over the decline of public safety and the quality of life in her community.
She praised the support she received during her campaign from Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa, who was soundly defeated by Mayor-elect Eric Adams, who earned 66% of the vote to Sliwa’s 29% with nearly 98% of scanners reporting, according to the BOE.
“I also want to extend my thanks to Curtis Sliwa for his friendship and support throughout this campaign. Even though he wasn’t victorious this time, I have no doubt that he contributed immeasurably to our success,” Paladino said. “We are confident in our victory, and look forward to serving this community for many years in the City Council. There will be more statements to come detailing our transition and legislative plans.”