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Election Day brought a few surprises to Queens but also disappointment over turnout. Voting was inexcusably low in most parts of the borough with the re-election of Mayor Bill de Blasio considered a done deal and only one of the incumbents in the City Council facing a white-knuckle challenge.

Nevertheless, the Queens playbook had one new chapter and several interesting footnotes for the general 2017 election.

In Council District 30, civic leader Bob Holden pulled out a squeaker against Democratic Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, with a temporary lead of 133 votes in the most acrimonious borough race in recent memory. Counting of the absentee ballots and other votes began Wednesday at the Board of Elections office on Queens Boulevard.

Crowley had crushed Holden, the longtime head of the Juniper Park Civic Association, by 25 points in the Democratic primary. But the Republican Party courted him and he ended up running against Crowley on the GOP line despite swearing allegiance to the Democratic Party for 44 years.

If he wins, it is not clear where Holden will hang his hat - with the few Republicans in the Council or the Democrats. Crowley is seeking a third term and if she loses, that will mean one less woman in the Council, where the female ranks have thinned dramatically in recent years.

What will remain is the deep-seated bitterness between the two candidates that has been described as Queens’ version of the Hatfield vs. the McCoys feud. The big issues in the race were homeless shelters and the closing of Rikers Island.

Turnout for the Holden-Crowley matchup was about 20,300 compared with 22,570 in the re-election of Councilman Eric Ulrich — the borough’s sole GOP lawmaker — in the nearby CD 33. Paul Vallone’s northeast Queens district led the pack with nearly 25,000 voters going to the polls in a three-way matchup that sent the Democrat back to the Council.

De Blasio prevailed in Queens over GOP challenger Nicole Malliotakis but only by a 2-to-1 ratio - the smallest margin outside her Staten Island home borough. She beat the mayor in Crowley’s Glendale, Ridgewood district and in the Rockaways, Howard Beach and South Ozone Park. In Bayside and the Fresh Meadows districts Malliotakis outpaced the mayor.

The mayor had the best showing by far in heavily Democratic southeast Queens, which has a history of getting its people out to vote even in non-dazzling years like 2017. The elderly used walkers to visit one polling site in Queens Village, sending a message to the many able-bodied who stayed home that casting a ballot is worth the effort.

Posted 12:00 am, November 17, 2017
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