Richards poised to defeat Zmich in race for Queens borough president

Borough President Donovan Richards speaks to his supporters at his election party held at Vetro’s Restaurant and Lounge in Howard Beach. (Photo by Carlotta Mohamed/QNS)

Incumbent Queens Borough President Donovan Richards emerged victorious in the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 2, defeating Republican challenger, Thomas Zmich. 

Richards currently leads Zmich, having secured 65.72% of the votes with 97.72% of precincts reported, according to unofficial results from the city’s Board of Elections as of Wednesday morning, Nov. 3.

Richards thanked his family, colleagues and supporters at his election party held at Vetro Restaurant and Lounge — located at 164-49 Cross Bay Blvd. in Howard Beach — with live entertainment, dinner and a prayer service. 

Borough President Donovan Richards takes a selfie with a supporter at his election party held at Vetro’s Restaurant and Lounge in Howard Beach on Tuesday, Nov. 2. (Photo by Carlotta Mohamed)

“We shook the system up, y’all! They said somebody from southeast Queens cannot win! They said a Black man cannot win the borough president’s race! They ran off fear, y’all. But we did it. We did it!” Richards said. 

Borough President Donovan Richards thanks his parents (l.) and wife for their support in his re-election bid to office. (Photo by Carlotta Mohamed)

“We are here to work with everyone because that’s what this borough is about. There are 190 countries represented with over 350 languages and dialects spoken in this borough. We are not building any walls in this county — we are breaking those walls down,” Richards said. “This is not Trump’s town, this is our town. We have work to do ahead of us over the course of the next eight years as borough president.” 

Richards, who was a former city councilman representing the 27th district in southeast Queens, was sworn into office last year following a special election after Melinda Katz became district attorney. He will now serve four years as borough president. 

“We started diversifying the community boards, and we are going to finish that. There’s a lot of work to be done. With $70 million in capital funding, we were able to bring that money into every corner of our borough,” Richards said. “Some people may not like it, but we didn’t come here to make friends. We came here to get something done — for the underserved and underprivileged.” 

Borough President Donovan Richards and his wife, the first lady of Queens. (Photo by Carlotta Mohamed)

In a room filled with supporters, whom he called his “day ones,” Richards called out his colleagues — Councilman Eric Ulrich, Assemblyman Khaleel Anderson, and newly elected Councilwoman Nantasha Williams of District 27 — who thanked him for his leadership. 

“I remember sitting down with Donovan a couple of years ago, and he said, ‘I want to be the borough president,’ and I said, ‘You gotta be nuts,’” Ulrich said. “I said without hesitation, ‘I’m on board.’ He’s my friend, and I’m so damn proud of him because he’s doing such an amazing job for all of the people of Queens, in every community, and every neighborhood.’” 

Republican City Councilman Eric Ulrich congratulates Richards on his re-election to office. (Photo by Carlotta Mohamed/QNS)

Williams, who received applause for securing a seat in the City Council to represent District 27, said she looks forward to working with Richards to deliver to their communities. 

“Being from southeast Queens is special and to go beyond southeast Queens and represent the borough, is beyond amazing,” Williams said. “I hear a lot of things about council members and elected officials in our community, and I hope that I can live up to what you have done for our community.” 

Newly elected Councilwoman Nantasha Williams, who will represent District 27. (Photo by Carlotta Mohamed)

Meanwhile, Anderson congratulated Richards on his reelection to office, and his vision for the borough. 

“He had a message and vision to unite a divided borough — a message and vision that centered people who have been left behind and forgotten about. A message that centers our communities, uplifts and empowers people,” Anderson said. “I’m so proud of you and the future of our borough that is going to be on the rise.” 

State Assemblyman Khaleel Anderson (Photo by Carlotta Mohamed)