If last week’s in-person Primary Election Day results provided a hazy depiction of the next City Council members to represent Queens, last Friday’s release of Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) results by the New York City Board of Elections secured the tallies of the frontrunners.
“While we wait for the final results and for all ballots to be counted, our lead following the results of Ranked Choice Voting shows that my work serving Eastern Queens is only just beginning,” Linda Lee wrote back on July 3. Following the inclusion of absentee ballots, Lee won the race in the 23rd District with 54.5 percent of the results (7170 votes). Jaslin Kaur, the leftist candidate, received 45.5 percent of the ranked choice vote (5991 votes).
The race was closely watched by DSA supporters, who sought to demonstrate that their success extends beyond the gentrified neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens along the East River. As was the case with the special election last February in Central Queens, the Council race in the district covering Jamaica Estates, Holliswood, Glen Oaks, and New Hyde Park was about representing the Jewish vote.
“It was truly an honor to be a part of your campaign and this historic victory,” David Mordukhaev wrote. “The Bukharian Community and I look forward to working with you!” His organization, Alliance of Bukharian Americans, encouraged his neighbors to vote for Lee not only because of her outspoken support for Israel, but also because Kaur had her own support group, The Jewish Vote, whose name does not represent the Jewish mainstream as it concerns Israel.
In downtown Flushing, Sandra Ung secured a win with 55.2 percent (4202 votes) of the ranked choice vote in a contest among eight candidates. She had the support of Queens Jewish community activists, who appreciated her support of Israel, Jewish institutions, and constituent work during when she worked for Rep. Grace Meng.
The same activists, whose names appeared under the banner of the Queens Jewish Alliance for Action, offered their second-place endorsement to Lynn Schulman for the 29th District, which covers Rego Park, Forest Hills, and Kew Gardens. That race had two young candidates deeply involved in local Jewish causes. Avi Cyperstein is best known as a founder of Queens Chaverim and was eliminated in the sixth round of RCV with 13.4 percent (2180 votes). David Aronov, a political staffer and founder of the Bukharian Jewish Union, was beat in round eight with 28.8 percent of the vote (4132 votes).
Schulman, who won with a clean 60 percent of the ranked choice vote (7228), had the support of outgoing Council Member Karen Koslowitz, and Meng, among other elected officials. A member of Koslowitz’s Democratic Party Club, she worked for the Council Speaker since 2017 as the Senior Community and Emergency Services Liaison, managing outreach on senior and health-related matters. Besides her experience and having the support of many elected officials, Schulman also earned the Jewish activists’ endorsement because she had a realistic chance at winning against Aleda Gagarin, the leftist who finished with 40 percent of the vote after RCV factored into the nine-person race.
The support of observant Jewish voters for an openly LGBT candidate is not unique to this district. In Crown Heights, Chabad activists urged their neighbors to vote for Crystal Hudson, a staffer for outgoing incumbent Laurie Cumbo. Their vote helped to defeat Michael Hollingsworth, the DSA-backed tenant organizer. This pragmatic support of an LGBT candidate against a leftist candidate also reflected in the race for Comptroller, where the Orthodox neighborhoods voted for Corey Johnson, who conceded to Brad Lander, the outspoken progressive endorsed by many supporters of BDS.
In the mayoral race, Eric Adams maintained his lead, with a shakeup in the runner-up position, where Kathryn Garcia jumped ahead of Maya Wiley in the ranked choice count. With fewer than three points separating the two frontrunners, the former sanitation commissioner remained hopeful in becoming the city’s first female mayor once the absentee ballots were counted. “The geographic distribution of the returned absentee ballots favors Garcia and puts Adams at a disadvantage compared to his in-person vote standing,” wrote Adam Rosenblatt, who conducted polling for the Garcia campaign. However, Adams’ optimism paid off: After the count of 135,000 absentee votes, he won the Democratic nomination to be the city’s next mayor, with 50.5 percent of the vote (403,333 votes) compared to Garcia’s 49.5 percent (394,907 votes) after eight rounds of RCV.