BY JON CRONIN
The City Council race between Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Glendale) and Juniper Park Civic Association President Bob Holden was too close to call on Tuesday night.
Although Holden had a slight lead by the end of the night, the winner of the race has yet to be determined by the city’s Board of Elections. Absentee ballots and a re-count will be completed over the next few weeks.
At the Woodhaven House in Middle Village, Crowley told her campaign and supporters, “I can’t stand here tonight and say we definitely won.” But she added, “We’re not giving up the fight tonight.”
Holden’s party at Connelly’s Corner in Maspeth had a more celebratory atmosphere. Many of his supporters already beleived that he had won the election.
“We took on the machine and a nine-year incumbent who had all the advantages,” Holden told the crowd.
He noted that he was currently up by 133 votes in the race.
A total of 20,341 votes were cast in the council district. The Board of Elections will re-count the ballots and has approximately 400 to 500 absentee ballots to count.
Newly re-elected Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) stopped by Holden’s party to blast Crowley.
“They say that pride comes before the fall and, boy, did she fall tonight,” he said. “Bob Holden showed that you can’t take the low road to City Hall; that you can’t use lies and smear and innuendo and vicious attacks and think that you’re going to get away with it. Because the people of this community went to the polls in a historic turnout and they swept her out of office.”
Ulrich added that once the absentee ballots were counted, “He will win with an even bigger margin.” He believes that Council District 30, a historically Republican seat, was tired of Crowley’s “rubber stamp” action in regard to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s policies.
“It will be a pleasure to work with Eric and battle some of the lunatics in the City Council,” Holden said.
Asked if he would attempt to get Holden to caucus with Republicans, Ulrich said, “That’s a conversation for tomorrow,” and Holden echoed that statement.
On Election Day, Crowley campaigned outside PS 49 in Middle Village, a strong base for Holden, and occasionally shared a corner with her opponent.
John Schatz Jr., who has lived in Middle Village for 21 years, said outside PS 49 that he would vote for Holden despite the civic leader’s not being a “true Republican.”
Schatz said that he didn’t like how the city was taking away lanes on Woodhaven Boulevard and that it now takes him 25 minutes to get to his parents’ house in Glendale.
Inna Picioane, a long-time Middle Village resident, said that she would vote for Crowley due to the help the councilwoman gave to her son’s Boy Scout troop as well as Crowley’s stance on the homeless-shelter issue and safety in local parks.
David Baxter, a resident of 88th Street in Glendale, said on his way to voting at PS 113 that he still wasn’t sure for whom he would vote in the council race. His biggest complaint was that cars drive too fast on his street and that several had hit his home. Baxter noted that he was leaning toward voting for Crowley, but that he had called her office several times about speeding on 88th Street and never received a return call.