Paladino cruises past Avella in northeast Queens City Council race

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Council Member Vickie Paladino celebrated her victory in securing a second term outside of her office in Bay Terrace less than an hour after polls closed.
Photo by Iryna Shkurhan

District 19 Council Member Vickie Paladino is on her way to another term after securing the majority of the votes against former Council Member Tony Avella in the Nov. 7 general election, according to unofficial results from the city’s Board of Elections.

As of Tuesday night, the unofficial results have Paladino in the lead with 54%of the vote for the northeast Queens, City Council seat  representing Bayside, Whitestone, College Point, Douglaston, Little Neck and parts of northern Flushing

As of 10 p.m. on Tuesday night, 94% of the votes were tallied and Paladino held the lead by slightly over 3,000 votes.

Paladino’s staff, volunteers and supporters celebrated at her campaign headquarters in Bay Terrace after polls closed on Tuesday evening. Even hours before polls closed, they blasted celebratory music throughout the shopping center in anticipation of the victory. 

“We won this race from the day it was announced. This horse race between my mother and her opponent was never real. And I think that the results tonight demonstrate that,” said Thomas Paladino after the majority of the votes came in. “I think we put to bed the notion that there is any competition in this district for Vickie Paladino.”

Paladino danced her way out of the office shortly after 9:45 p.m. to Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” after her son spoke.

“To everyone here in this district I thank you from the bottom of my hear,” said Paladino. “You spoke loud. Your voices were heard from the votes I got today.”

The rematch followed a close race in 2021 in which Paladino beat Avella by just 390 votes, one of the smallest victories in the city and one of the few seats that Republicans extracted from the Democrats in the general election. The closeness of the previous election helped set it up as one of the most highly contested races in the city council this time around. 

“Although the election didn’t go the way I hoped, I want to thank all of the people who have supported me over the years,” wrote Avella on X after the results came in. “I am grateful for each and every one of you.”

Avella secured the endorsements of several high-profile Queens politicians including Congresswoman Grace Meng, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and State Sen. Toby Ann-Stavisky. He was also supported by several environmental conservation organizations, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York and the United Federation of Teachers. 

But that support did not transfer to the constituents who overwhelmingly voted to keep Paladino in office. 

Avella has referred to Paladino as a “extreme far right Republican” with a history of making “wild and racist statements” on his campaign site. And days before the election he shared on X that it was “disgraceful that Vickie Paladino stands by her white supremacist staffer.” He called it “another example of Paladino aligning herself with extremists like the Proud Boys & Neo-Nazis.”

Earlier on election day, Paladino bashed her opponent outside of P.S. 193 Alfred J. Kennedy in Whitestone where she spoke to several reporters before going inside the elementary school she attended to cast her ballot. She also addressed his comments about her ties to far-right extremists. 

“The narrative that he’s putting out there is lies … white supremacy, Proud Boy relations,” Paladino told reporters outside of the polling site before referring to Avella as a “socialist” despite his moderate stances. 

On the issue of public safety, which is a top concern of voters in the district, Avella advocated for reforming bail reform which he attributes to a dramatic issue in crime and has said that he does not support defunding the police. Paladino also voted in support of maintaining the city’s police budget and supported adding more officers to precincts in her district. 

And as the city’s migrant crisis unfolded, which led to protests in the district against the opening of shelters for migrants – they both agreed that the St. Agnes school was a poor choice for a respite center. Paladino later touted that she secured the closure of the site two weeks earlier than scheduled due to her efforts. But the Queens Chronicle reported that it was actually closed early because it did not have fire sprinklers in place. 

“This district means the world to me. I want to thank my democrat friends, my republican friends, my independent friends. What we showed the people of the city of New York is that we can all come together,” added Paladino before jumping into another celebratory dance. “There’s plenty of work that still has to be done and we’re just getting started.”