It’s official: A Republican has flipped the City Council District 19 seat after eight years of Democratic control.
Democratic nominee Tony Avella conceded Nov. 17, two weeks after Election Day.
“My wife and I want to thank all of my supporters and volunteers who worked tirelessly on our campaign,” he wrote in a statement. “Although we lost, I am proud of the positive and issued based campaign we waged. A mere 387 votes was the difference in the outcome despite my opponent conducting negative ads and a Trump-like disinformation campaign. In the near future, I will review the election results and what this means for our community.”
Vickie Paladino had claimed victory on Nov. 2 just before midnight, telling the Chronicle she was confident the yet-to-be-counted absentee ballots would be a “nonfactor.”
The city Board of Elections had not updated the results to include absentee ballots by press time. The unofficial results continue to show Paladino leading with 49.7 percent of the votes to Avella’s 42.9 percent — a margin of 1,653 ballots. Conservative candidate John-Alexander Sakelos took home 7 percent.
Avella pointed to the “red wave” that took hold of the northeastern Queens district for the election. Three of the five Assembly districts that overlap City Council District 19 voted for Republican mayoral hopeful Curtis Sliwa over mayor-elect Eric Adams. In total, Sliwa won the entire Council district by 1 percent, or 690 votes, according to updated city Board of Elections results.
Avella told the Chronicle that another run — and potentially against Paladino again — is still on the table. He held the seat from 2002 to 2009.
“People are already asking me to run again,” Avella said in a Nov. 22 phone interview. “I’m thinking about what people had said. The toughest election for someone is their first re-election.”
Paladino’s City Council term is only for two years rather than the typical four. A City Charter revision from the 1980s reduced terms every 20 years for City Council seats to two years to accommodate the redistricting that takes place following census counts every 10 years. That means Paladino will be up for re-election in 2023.
Avella said he’ll be reviewing the situation and making a determination whether he is the best person to face off with her again. In the meantime, he’ll be out and about in the district and engaging with the community as he always has.
“I’m all about helping people and that’s why I decided to run again,” said Avella. “I’ll be around, absolutely.”