The tight City Council race in Queens between incumbent Elizabeth Crowley and her challenger Robert Holden appeared to end Thursday morning with Crowley conceding.
Holden, a civic leader who beat Crowley by 133 votes on Election Day, kept his margin of victory after paper ballots were counted at the New York City Board of Elections’ Queens office on Wednesday.
“The results of this election will not change my commitment to public service. I intend to spend the remaining weeks of my term in office working tirelessly on behalf of my constituents,” Crowley said in a statement. “Whatever the future holds, I will bring the same passion and dedication to fighting for our community that I brought to my work as Councilmember.”
The results will not be official until next week, according to the Board of Elections.
“It’s very gratifying,” Holden, a college professor and head of the Juniper Park Civic Association, told amNewYork. “It feels like David vs. Goliath. I really have to thank all my amazing volunteers.”
Crowley, a two-term member of the City Council, received the backing of her Council colleagues and had robust support from organized labor and the Queens Democratic Party. She is the cousin of party boss and U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley.
Holden tapped into years of community activism.
After losing in the Democratic primary, he ran on the Republican line to defeat Crowley. District 30, which includes parts of Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Woodhaven and Ridgewood, is one of the more conservative-leaning in the city.
Crowley and Holden have had a contentious relationship for years with Holden criticizing Crowley as ineffective. Crowley hit back with charges that Holden used high-pressure tactics as a civic leader.
The candidates have had a contentious relationship for years with Holden criticizing Crowley — who took office in 2009 — as ineffective. Crowley hit back with charges that Holden used high-pressure tactics as a civic leader.
The bruising campaign included literature depicting Holden as “Angry Bob” with images of Grandpa Simpson from “The Simpsons” television show. There was also a bomb threat scrawled on an anti-Holden flyer left in his home mailbox. Crowley promptly denounced the threat.
Holden took a conciliatory tone on Thursday.
“I want to thank her for her years of service,” he said. “I know it’s a difficult job.”
Holden downplayed the issue of party affiliation or who he will caucus with in the City Council, which is controlled by Democrats.
He is a registered Democrat who won running on the Republican line — not a first in New York City politics.
“I don’t consider myself any party — I really don’t,” he said. “I’m not part of those clubs. I’m progressive on some issues, like gun control, and conservative on others, like property taxes. I’ll work with both parties.”
The original unofficial tallies showed Holden received 10,221 votes on the Republican, Conservative, Reform and Dump de Blasio lines.
Crowley won 10,088 votes on the Democratic, Working Families and Women’s Equality lines.
Sources said a count of the paper ballots kept Holden’s lead, which was not close enough to trigger a recount.