Brad Lander on his way to victory in race for NYC comptroller

Brooklyn City Council Member Brad Lander celebrated his primary victory in Gowanus.
Photo by Aidan Graham

Park Slope Councilman Brad Lander has seemingly secured enough votes to win the Democratic primary for New York City Comptroller, making the Brooklyn lawmaker a shoe-in to become the chief financial officer of the Five Boroughs next January, according to newly released unofficial results from the city’s Board of Elections.

Lander secured 339,129 votes (51.9%), compared to his primary rival, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who received 314,446 votes (48.1%), according to the BOE’s numbers, finalizing a remarkable comeback for the progressive pol in the hotly-contested election. 

As New York City last month conducted its first primary election using the ranked-choice voting system, where voters ranked their preferences in order of 1-5, the city’s Board of Elections took several days to tally votes. After a number of mishaps, the BOE finally tallied the in-person votes — which includes both early voting and votes cast on election day — on June 29, and on July 6, they tallied most of the absentee ballots. 

While some ballots remain needing to be “cured” — meaning the voter filled out their ballot improperly, and now have a chance to fill out their ballot once more — Lander leads Johnson in the unofficial vote tally by more than 24,000 ballots, making him the presumptive Democratic nominee for the comptroller position. 

Lander released a statement shortly after the BOE released the results, saying that he is honored to be the Democratic nominee for New York City comptroller.”

“Thank you New York City! I promise to work hard every single day to build a city that is more just, more equal, and more prepared for the future,” Lander said in his statement. “We ran a campaign rooted in the idea that we can have bold, progressive local government that delivers for its people. This was the most grassroots campaign for Comptroller in NYC history — and I couldn’t be more grateful to everyone who was part of it. With the vast majority of absentee votes counted, our lead has grown to 24,685.”

The controller is responsible for overseeing investments of the city’s pension funds, as well as auditing city agencies. Current Comptroller Scott Stringer ran for mayor in the June Democratic primaries, but came up short after allegations of sexual assault rocked his campaign, and caused many of his supporters to withdraw their endorsements. 

Lander’s win marks a significant win for the progressive wing of New York City’s Democratic Party, as he has long positioned himself as the champion of liberal causes in the city. He earned the endorsement of Queen Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, and the editorial board of the New York Times. 

The win also represented a rejection of the political power machine that often dominates city politics, and which helped Eric Adams to win a victory in the city’s mayoral election, as he slight edged out former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia in the race for City Hall. 

Lander’s daughter, Rosa, a high profile campaign surrogate, tweeted simply thanking her father’s supporters.