Three takeaways from the primary elections in Queens

queens primaries
Democratic socialist Kristen Gonzalez defeated her establishment-backed opponent in western Queens. (Photo courtesy of Gonzalez’s campaign)

On Tuesday, Aug. 23, the second of two primary elections took place across the state, where here in Queens, voters cast their ballots for congressional and state Senate primary races.

As we wrap up this election cycle and look ahead to the general election, here are three things to take away from the chaotic primaries.

1. Very low voter turnout throughout Queens

Queens experienced the lowest voter turnout among the five boroughs in the August primary, with only 17,996 votes counted, according to the Board of Elections (BOE).

Low voter turnout was also reported all over the city, with about 3% of eligible voters casting ballots during early voting in the August primary, according to a report from The City. In the June primary, about 5% of voters cast a ballot during the early voting period.

It can be assumed that the primaries saw such low participation due to the redistricting blunder that forced the election to be rescheduled and split into two parts. 

2. Democratic socialists continue to win

What we’ve seen, and continue to see, in New York City, is that establishment-backed Democrats may not be as favorable as political newcomers.

In the newly drawn State Senate District 59, covering western Queens, Kristen Gonzalez — backed by Democratic Socialists of America and left-leaning politicians like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez— beat her competition by a wide margin, coming out on top with 58.14% of the votes, according to unofficial results from the BOE.

Elizabeth Crowley, previously a City Council member and cousin of former U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley — famously defeated in 2018 by Ocasio-Cortez — trailed behind with 32.51% of votes, according to BOE results. 

Gonzalez said that this primary was indicative of a larger movement — one that favors socialist candidates. 

“Today we really proved that socialism wins. We are not going anywhere, and we will not stop until we see a socialist slate across the city,” Gonzalez said. “Neighborhoods across Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens resoundingly elected a 27-year-old socialist Latina to the New York State Legislature. Tonight, we didn’t just prove that socialists can still win, but that our movement is undoubtedly growing.”

3. Redistricting causes shake-ups in Democratic Party

Rep. Carolyn Maloney lost the Democratic primary race against her longtime colleague Rep. Jerrold Nadler after their two districts were chopped up and made into the newly drawn 12th Congressional District, made up of the Upper East Side and Upper West Side. 

Maloney formerly represented the 12th Congressional District — previously consisting of the East Side of Manhattan, Roosevelt Island, Astoria, Long Island City, Woodside and Brooklyn — since 1993. Maloney was a champion for climate justice; she recently introduced legislation to advance clean energy and put a stop to big polluters like the Ravenswood Generating Station in Astoria. 

This western area in Queens will now be represented in the 7th Congressional District, where incumbent Nydia M. Velazquez just won the Democratic primary with a whopping 81.64% of votes.

In central Queens, state Senator Joseph P. Addabbo was able to snag the Democratic primary win in his newly drawn district with about 56% of the vote, according to BOE results. 

The redistricting of State Senate District 15 cut out Howard Beach, where Addabbo currently resides. The shift in district lines would force him to register his new home address at his mother’s in order to comply with state laws. 

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