Decision 2021

Close Queens Borough President Race Mired in Accusation of Racism

NBC Universal, Inc.

One of the city's ugliest political battles during the primaries this year is still going in Queens, where the borough president is being slammed after calling his challenger a “racist” — and that’s after he declared victory.

Some say Queens Borough President Donovan Richards was just speaking his mind when he took to Twitter to share that "we beat her racist "a--" in reference to his primary opponent Elizabeth Crowley, the former city councilmember. Others saw it as unbecoming and unnecessary, with the race all but over.

Richards said on Wednesday that he stands behind what he said in the tweet, accusing her of fear-mongering via campaign mailers disguised as eviction notices, and of using racist dog whistles in her rhetoric on public safety,

In a written statement to NBC New York, Richards wrote "Since our victory in the June 2020 Democratic primary, Ms. Crowley has repeatedly insinuated that she would have won if not for the death of George Floyd and the ensuing Black Lives Matter movement across our country. She later attempted to bully me into giving her a job within our administration with veiled threats of a divisive and dirty campaign if I did not."

Some say it was in bad taste and that he shouldn't have said anything like that, with some New Yorkers questioning why Richards would attack his fellow Democrat at a time other campaigns call for party unity.

For her part, Crowley has not yet responded — but she hasn’t conceded the race either. Her campaign did not respond to the claim she asked for a job in Richards' borough president office.

According to unofficial election totals, Richards got just over 92,000 votes, while Crowley got just over 91,000 — a difference of just 1,044 votes.

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