Not until well into the night Tuesday was it clear that City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) would retain his seat.
He won with 53 percent of the vote, according to the Associated Press, but he faced stiff competition from Democratic opponent Lew Simon, who received 47 percent of the vote.
For the first few hours after the polls closed, Simon, a state Assembly district leader and former private school teacher, was in the lead.
It was the closest Council race in the city, according to numbers provided by the AP.
The candidates were vying to represent District 32, which includes Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Hamilton Beach, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Rockaway Beach, Rockaway Park, South Ozone Park, South Richmond Hill and Woodhaven.
Ulrich, who serves as the minority whip of the Republican delegation in the Council, was elected in a special election in 2009 and then re-elected later that year. His campaign was backed by Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota.
The Republican councilman may have gotten some blowback from the historic win by Democratic mayor candidate Bill de Blasio, who captured 65 percent of the votes in Queens. The demographics in the district also have changed with many people still shut out of their homes in the aftemath of Hurricane Sandy, but how that might have played out in the election was not yet clear.
Voter Vanessa Morgan, who voted at the same location as the incumbent — PS 232 in Howard Beach — said Ulrich earned her vote.
“Eric Ulrich I know from his work around the neighborhood,” she said, pointing out that she also voted for Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota. “I know he worked closely with [Rudy] Giuliani, so that was a motivating factor.”
Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) breezed through her race to a victory with 91.8 percent of the vote, according to the AP. Her opponent in the race for the 29th District seat, Jon Torodash, took 8.2 percent of the vote.
The district includes Forest Hills, Rego Park and Kew Gardens.
Torodash, a software engineer and former teacher who said he has never before been a member of a political party, ran on the Civic Virtue line. The name of the party is a nod to “Triumph of Civic Virtue,” a statute that was controversially moved from Borough Hall to a private cemetery in Brooklyn.
Koslowitz served on the Council from 1991-2001. She was deputy borough president until 2009, when she was again elected to the Council. She chairs the Council Committee on Economic Development.
In the 34th District, Antonio Reynoso held onto his win for the seat.
He beat his one opponent, Gladys Santiago, when he won 96 percent of the vote, according to the AP. Santiago, who ran on the third party School Choice line, won 4 percent.
Reynoso previously bested Santiago during the Democratic primary in September. He also defeated former Assemblyman Vito Lopez, who tried to return to political office, and Humberto Soto.
Reynoso has served as the chief of staff for Councilwoman Diana Reyna (D-Brooklyn) since 2009. Reyna is being term-limited out. Reynoso, who hails from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, previously worked as a community and labor organizer for childcare workers.
The district includes Ridgewood, Bushwick and Williamsburg.
“I’m humbled and honored that voters in my district overwhelmingly chose me to serve in the City Council,” Reynoso said in a statement. “I plan to fight hard for progressive changes that will strengthen working families and create economic opportunities for households and residents who are struggling.”
Reach reporter Bianca Fortis by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4546.
©2013 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.