Editor’s Note: Every Friday, we will be posting a brief rundown of new developments in the elections happening in Queens.
A bunch of Queens candidates and campaign volunteers have signed onto a lawsuit filed against Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo asking the courts to cancel petitioning to get on this year’s ballot.
It’s too dangerous to go out and gather signatures because of the coronavirus pandemic, the plaintiffs argue. And while the state passed a law reducing the number of signatures required by 70%, that’s not enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19 because the act of gathering signatures goes against current public health guidelines.
Queens Borough President candidate and City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer is pledging to not challenge other candidates’ petitions and is calling on his opponents to do the same.
Van Bramer is a plaintiff in the lawsuit. If the lawsuit is unsuccessful, he said he won’t challenge the petitions of the other candidates in the race and he’s calling on the other candidates to agree to do the same. Challenges are a common practice in the election process. To prevent being booted off the ballot, candidates will collect four to five times the amount of necessary signatures to compensate for the disqualifications.
So far only Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, who’s running to keep his seat after winning it in last year’s special, has joined Van Bramer in his pledge.
Speaking of Richards, the special election to replace him in City Council District 31 is coming up quickly.
Candidates are out campaigning and participating in forums and debates (join us next week for ours) in an attempt to convince voters to vote for them in what will be the city’s second go at ranked choice voting.
Early voting starts on Saturday, February 13 and election day is Tuesday, February 23.
City Council Candidate Felicia Singh testified in a city council hearing on behalf of her family who are risk of losing their home because of the taxi medallion crisis.
Singh joined the New York Taxi Alliance and spoke in a joint hearing on Wednesday in front of the Committee on Immigration jointly with the Committee on Aging on the medallion crisis and the hardships facing families like her own.
Richard Lee, candidate for City Council in District 19, joined community leaders across Queens in calling for additional vaccination sites in Northeast Queens.
He said he was glad that Citi Field was opening as a vaccination site but that it’s difficult to get there because of a lack of public transportation in Northeast Queens.
After postponing his launch because of the snow storm last weekend, Hailing Chen officially launched his campaign for District 20 on the City Council.
Hailing said he believes that all residents of Flushing deserve a city that can offer quality healthcare after the pandemic as well as during its worst months. He will work for more affordable housing, top quality public education, and enhanced services for seniors. He will push to get Flushing’s small businesses the help they need for a strong and just recovery.
George Onuorah also launched his campaign for City Council 21.
Onuorah said he is a lifelong Democrat who believes in immigrant rights, civil rights and LGBTQ rights. If elected he plans to focus on LaGuardia airport, since it’s in the district, and other issues.
And here’s a few recent endorsements from the never ending pool of endorsements.
District Council 37, New York City’s largest public sector union, added City Council candidate Nantasha Williams to their list of endorsed candidates. Williams is running for City Council District 27.
City Council candidate Juan Ardila received a couple of endorsements as well. The Queens United Independent Progressives (QUIP) backed him in his bid for the City Council District 30 seat and so did the New York Progressive Action Network.
And finally, New York City Councilmember, and Democratic Mayoral Candidate, Carlos Menchaca announced his endorsement of City Council candidate Hailie Kim for Council District 26.