Most Borough Presidents Races Still Too Close to Call, Latest Preliminary Count Shows

New Yorkers got a major step closer late Friday night to finding out which candidates notched their party’s nomination to run for mini-mayor, aka borough president. 

The figures released marked the first ranked choice vote tallies in the various races, but only took into account in-person ballots cast during early voting and on Primary Day. 

Absentee ballots have yet to be fully counted and tabulated, meaning that official, final results might not be in until mid-month.

As with the mayoral and comptroller races, most of the contests are still too close to call — with the exception of the Democratic race on Staten Island, where party stalwart Mark Murphy held a commanding lead over Lorie Honor.

Here are the latest results, borough by borough: 

Staten Island

Matteo Inches Ahead

Councilmember Steven Matteo, who was running behind Ex-Rep. Vito Fossella in the initial in-person, first-choice vote, took the lead back by 25 votes — a slim 50.1% to 49.9% margin.

If the slim margin holds, the race could go to a hand recount of ballots.

Fossella was powered by a late endorsement and robocalls from former President Donald Trump. But Matteo’s near universal support among Republican elected officials appears to have helped him stay barely ahead of Fossella, pending the counting and ranking of absentee ballots.

Leticia Remauro’s voters helped Matteo take the lead under the ranked-choice system. The former GOP chairwoman is likely out of the race given that she’d need almost 6,000 of Staten Island’s 7,000 mail-in ballots to break her way. 

Fossella had 7,517 of the initial first-place votes, compared to 7,309 for Matteo, according to the BOE’s early results, which took into account early and in-person ballots without ranked choice tabulations.

Fossella only entered the borough president’s race in March and ran a low-key campaign after more than a decade largely outside of the public spotlight. His campaign reported spending only $113 so far, despite having signage littered across the borough — a boost the campaign attributes to volunteers.

The winner of the November election would replace term-limited Borough President James Oddo, a Republican and former boss of Matteo.

Murphy Apparent Winner

Democratic elected officials and the party’s united support apparently lifted Mark Murphy, who’s ahead by nearly 6,500 votes, to likely victory in the party’s most competitive primary in two decades.

Progressive candidates split the vote in the five-person race, while Murphy notched 65.4% of early and primary ballots. 

Activist and wine store owner Lorie Honor emerged as Murphy’s closest competitor with 34.6% of the vote after Radhakrishna Mohan, Brandon Stradford and Cesar Vargas were eliminated in ranked choice rounds. 

With 7,000 absentee ballots in play, Murphy’s lead appears insurmountable.


Levine Leading Hoylman

City Councilmember Mark Levine and state Senator Brad Hoylman still came out in first and second place after ranked-choice tabulations Friday in the seven-person Democrat race to replace Borough President Gale Brewer, who is running for her old City Council seat.

After seven elimination rounds, Levine notched about 54% of votes while Hoylman had 46%, according to the BOE.  Political newcomer Elizabeth Caputo was the third-place finisher, edging out Councilmember Ben Kallos.

There are nearly 40,000 absentee ballots out in Manhattan, while fewer than 14,000 votes separate Levine and Hoylman.

The Bronx

Gibson Still Up

In The Bronx, Democratic Councilmember Vanessa Gibson maintained her modest lead over her Council colleague Fernando Cabrera.

After three rounds in the five-candidate race, Gibson had about 53% of initial first-place votes, compared to 47% for Cabrera. About 5,000 votes separate the two, with some 13,000 Democratic absentee votes yet to be tallied in the borough.

Before elimination rounds, State Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez, who was endorsed by mayoral candidate Maya Wiley, had garnered about 14% of votes; State Senator Luis Sepulveda received 10%, while retired police lieutenant Sammy Ravelo received close to 2%.

The winner of the Democratic primary would almost certainly replace term-limited Borough President Ruben Diaz Sr. in the overwhelmingly blue county. Ravelo is running on the Conservative Party line in November.

If elected, Gibson would be the first woman to become Bronx borough president, and the first non-Latino of any gender to occupy the office since the 1970s.


Reynoso Holds Edge

Councilmember Anthony Reynoso remained ahead with 55.3% to Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon’s 44.7%. But fewer than 19,000 votes separated them while 32,000 absentee ballots had yet to be counted.

The electoral calculus is further complicated by a 12-candidate race that includes Councilmember Robert Cornegy, who hasn’t quite been mathematically eliminated.


Richards Stays Barely Ahead

Current Borough President Donovan Richards was fighting off a surprisingly strong challenge from former Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley in the race to hold the seat he just won in a special election last year.

Richards had about 51% of the first-place votes on Friday compared to Crowley’s 48%, BOE preliminary ranked-choice results show. The only other challenger, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, appeared to boost Richards, who turned up second on many of the ballots cast by Van Bramer fans.

Still, with about 3,300 votes separating the top two candidates and some 35,000 absentee ballots yet to be counted, the outcome could shift dramatically.

In statements to THE CITY last week, both Richards’ and Crowley’s campaign said they expected to win.

Most observers had expected the contest to be fairly easy for Richards, who last December became the first Black man to hold the position after succeeding Melinda Katz, who is now Queens district attorney.

Late Release of Standings

The initial ranked choice tabulation for borough president and City Council races were  originally supposed to come out on Tuesday along with updates on the citywide races of mayor, comptroller and public advocate. 

The city Board of Election put out the citywide race numbers that day — pulled them after a massive counting screw-up — and issued corrected figures the next day.

The BOE released the borough president and Council unofficial results late into the night on Friday, as New Yorkers were kicking off the long holiday weekend.   

This article was originally posted on Most Borough Presidents Races Still Too Close to Call, Latest Preliminary Count Shows

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