Feb. 3, 2021 By Allie Griffin
James Gennaro is poised to reclaim the Central Queens city council seat he held eight years ago.
Gennaro, who previously held the District 24 Council seat for three terms until 2013, won the majority of votes in the D-24 special election yesterday, according to election night results.
The official results, however, are pending a number of absentee ballots — at least 600 — that still need to be counted.
The nonpartisan special election — which was prompted by the departure of Council Member Rory Lancman — was the first test of the city’s new ranked choice voting.
Gennaro secured nearly 60 percent of first-choice picks, or 3,379 votes, in the district covering Kew Gardens Hills, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Pomonok, Jamaica Hills and Briarwood. A candidate must win more than 50 percent of the votes to be declared winner.
“I feel humbled that the early returns show that our campaign is likely to prevail,” Gennaro wrote on Twitter. “I am of course compelled to respect the process of the counting of all the ballots. I eagerly await those final results. I am grateful to the people who supported us and to my fellow candidates.”
Gennaro is almost certain to win the election — barring an influx of outstanding absentee ballots. Should his share of the votes dip below 50 percent, a new tally would be determined as part of the city’s new ranked choice voting policy.
The second tally would eliminate the candidate in last place and count the second-choice picks from the constituents who voted. The process would continue until someone won an outright majority.
Moumita Ahmed, who was recently endorsed by Bernie Sanders, earned just under 16 percent of the vote — 882 votes — well behind Gennaro.
The six other candidates — community organizer Deepti Sharma; New York’s first Indian-American female Democratic District Leader Neeta Jain; healthcare executive Dilip Nath; “conservative” Democrat Mujib Rahman and real estate broker Michael Earl Brown — garnered single-digit percentages.
The winner of the special election will finish Lancman’s term that is set to end on Dec. 31, 2021. Lancman resigned from the City Council on Nov. 4 to take a position within Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration.
Lancman congratulated Gennaro on his likely win on Twitter.
I’ve seen enough. Congratulations @JimGennaro on returning to the @NYCCouncil, and congrats to @jain_neeta @dilipnathnyc @somaforny @deeptinyc for running good, hard races. Our community is better for it, and for your service in so many other ways. #CD24 https://t.co/IUcgmWVOm2 pic.twitter.com/nszD7U1FVx
— (((Rory Lancman))) (@RoryLancman) February 3, 2021
The Board of Elections (BOE) must certify the election results to declare the official winner. The election night results do not include absentee ballots — which have become popular among voters during the pandemic.
The BOE received roughly 2,000 absentee ballot applications and has received 600 absentee ballots back, Board Commissioners said at a meeting yesterday.
The BOE must wait at least 13 days to allow for the return and count of all ballots before releasing the official results.
2020 City Council District 24 Special Election (Unofficial Election Night Results) https://t.co/JYkQ324lXx
— QueensPost (@queenspost) February 3, 2021