Incumbents Win Big On Election Night

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After months of campaigning and anticipation, numerous incumbent candidates across New York City won reelection on Election Day this past Tuesday. Of the 4.6 million voters registered to vote within New York City, only 313,000 people came out to vote this week, bringing the voter turnout to just below 7%.

Even with the low voter turnout, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz (D) won reelection soundly, earning close to 67% of the vote over Howard Beach lawyer Michael Mossa (R) and retired NYPD first deputy police commissioner and Queens Supreme Court Judge George Grasso (Public Safety). With her victory, Katz secured another four-year term in office.

“First and foremost, I want to thank the voters for once more entrusting me with this office, in a time when so many people are deeply concerned about both the integrity of our criminal justice system and about their personal safety,” Katz said. “It is an awesome responsibility, but one that I am honored to take on for the people of this great Borough.”

In an official statement, Katz also thanked her team and highlighted their accomplishments over the past four years.

“We’ve gotten countless guns off our streets and have brought violent crime down,” Katz said. “We’ve expanded programs to keep kids on the right track and out of the criminal justice system. We’ve taken on retail theft to help our local business owners survive and thrive. We’ve overturned over one hundred wrongful convictions, undoing tragic injustices of the past, we’ve cracked down on human trafficking, and we are the only DA’s office in the state to have a unit dedicated to protecting immigrants’ rights. And with hate crimes rising, my office is fighting back with prevention and prosecution of those who bigotry leads to vandalism, violence or worse.”

Mossa, who returned to work at his law firm early on Wednesday, earned just over 27% of the vote, an outcome he was “disappointed” by but still proud of nonetheless.

“Realistically, my number was pretty good considering I did that campaign with $5000,” Mossa told The Wave. “I am very happy though that we dug our heels in and we came in with a good Republican vote to show the Republican line is the law and order line.”

Reflecting on his loss, Mossa expressed his frustration with the lack of media coverage he received throughout his campaign, adding that he often had to “fight” Grasso for the spotlight.

“Unfortunately, Grasso got much more coverage than I did throughout this campaign,” Mossa added. “I think the vote total showed that I was clearly Katz’s nearest competitor.”

Before running on a third party line in the general election, Grasso lost to Katz in the Democratic primary by over 35,000 votes. This time around, Grasso earned just over 5% of the vote.

“Over the past 15 months, I have worked very hard to identify issues pertaining to the criminal justice system that I believe to be significant and worthy of consideration for the benefit of not only Queens, but all residents of New York City,” Grasso said. “We fought hard. We ran an honest campaign. Our public safety message clearly resonated with almost everyone we spoke to.”

In her statement, Katz took a jab at Grasso. “More than TV spots, lawn signs or digital ads, our work investigating and prosecuting crimes, holding wrongdoers accountable while protecting the rights of the accused, and engaging our community in crime prevention efforts – it is that work by which I am judged by the voters,” Katz said. “So while one of my opponents took the summer off after badly losing the primary, in my office we never stop working. And that is why it is so gratifying and humbling to have won re-election with such strong numbers.”

In his statement, Grasso wished Katz well but promised to remain an active voice going forward. “I wish District Attorney Katz great success in her ongoing efforts to make Queens safer,” Grasso added. “While I concede this election, I do not concede my view that egregious errors have been made with respect to public safety in our city and state over the past several years. Because of that, I will continue to be a voice for what I believe to be right.”

Mossa also wished Katz well, adding that he hopes she takes on a more moderate approach during her second term. “For the people of Queens certainly I hope she does a good job,” Mossa added. “I think, if anything, she’s aware that people are angry about the shoplifting. Maybe that helps because if she moves to the center, it is better for the borough.”

In addition to the Queens District Attorney race, New York City Council seats were also on the ballot this year with both Councilwoman Joann Ariola (R) and Councilwoman Selvena N. Brooks-Powers (D) seeking reelection in their districts.

Ariola, who ran unopposed in District 32, won reelection with over 95% of the vote, securing another two-year term in office.

“Each time I enter City Hall, I think of all who brought me there,” Ariola said in a statement. “In these uncertain times, our families need a strong advocate at City Hall. Thank you for the honor of being that strong voice. I will continue to stand up for what is right, fight back against what is wrong, and represent common sense and all those that elected me to City Hall.”

Brooks-Powers, who ran against Rosedale nurse and nonprofit founder Daniella May (R), won reelection with close to 90% of the vote, also securing an additional two years in City Hall.

“I want to thank the voters of Southeast Queens and the Rockaways for honoring me with such strong support in reelecting me to the City Council,” Brooks-Powers said in a statement. “We live in challenging times, and voters are deeply concerned about the economy, their safety, their communities, and the future of our nation and our democracy. In this environment, it is so humbling to be trusted by the voters to continue our hard work on these issues and more. I love this district, and I’m proud of what we’ve been able to deliver for the families who live here.”

The New York City Council, as a whole, remained largely unchanged in terms of party lines with only two incumbents losing their seats in Brooklyn Councilman Ari Kagan (R) and Bronx Councilwoman Marjorie Velazquez (D), who lost to challengers Justin Brannan (D) and Kristy Marmorato (R), respectively.

In the race for the Queens County Civil Court seat, former Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney Sandra Perez (D) defeated Kew Gardens lawyer Sharmela Bachu (R) with over 66% of the vote. Both Perez and Bachu have worked as attorneys for nearly 30 years.

As for the five seats on the New York Supreme Court in the 11th Judicial District, Cassandra A. Johnson (D), Karen Lin (D), Peter J. Kelly (D), Scott Dunn (D/R),nd Jessica Earle-Gargan (D) were all elected and polled between 16% and 23% of the vote. Gary Muraca (R), the only other candidate, was not elected to the bench, receiving just over 8% of the vote.

In addition, both New York State proposals on the ballot passed. The first proposal, which asked voters if a debt limit should be removed for small-city school districts, received over 72% in “YES” votes. The second proposal, which asked voters if cities and towns should retain their power to go beyond debt limits to build new sewage facilities for the next decade, received close to 76% “YES” votes.

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