Donovan Richards won a special election for Queens borough president last year after then-Borough President Melinda Katz ascended to the Queens district attorney’s office.
But Richards might not get to the keep the seat for long. To hold onto the job, he must win election to a full term this year. And standing in his way are two formidable opponents.
What You Need To Know
- Donovan Richards won a special election for Queens borough president last year
- He must defeat two experienced opponents in the Democratic primary to win a full term in office
- City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer has the support of the progressive wing of the party
- Former Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley is the most moderate of the three, and favors hiring more police officers
“I’m ready to finish this job,” Richards said during a recent debate on NY1. “And I would be blessed to be re-elected as borough president.”
His rivals in the Democratic primary are both seasoned politicians: City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and former Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley.
Van Bramer is running to the left of Richards, and has won support from the party’s progressive wing.
“We need to prioritize workers and small businesses over big corporations, tenants over bad landlords and developers,” Van Bramer said at the debate.
Crowley is taking a second shot at Richards. She finished second in last year’s special election, losing to Richards by seven points.
And Crowley is the most moderate of the three. She favors hiring more police officers, and knocked her opponents for seeking to defund the police.
She told Van Bramer at the debate: “When you and Donovan voted on the budget last year, it took a billion dollars out of the police department’s budget and it reduced the ranks.”
New development like the controversial Flushing Waterfront District is a major issue in the race. Land use is one of the few areas in which borough presidents hold meaningful sway.
And Crowley has hit Richards for taking contributions from real estate interests. But she drew blowback when she tried to draw attention to the issue with a mailer that showed a pink eviction notice taped to a door, in lettering large enough that many felt it could be mistaken for the real thing.
Van Bramer, sparring with Crowley over the issue of real estate donations, said: “I didn’t send out a mailer frightening people who may actually be facing eviction or threat of eviction.”
Richards is the clear establishment favorite, with a seemingly endless list of endorsements, and a record he can now point to. He touts a $17.5-million program established to fund small businesses, and his effort to modernize the community board process, which Donovan says resulted in a 56% increase in applications.