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Queens Chronicle

Mayor sets March 24 for BP election

But the votes are just getting started

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Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2020 10:30 am | Updated: 11:34 am, Thu Jan 16, 2020.

By the next time Queens has a borough president in place for a full four-year term, the phrases “primary day” and “election day” may have people more in mind of the 1993 Bill Murray movie “Groundhog Day.”

Mayor de Blasio last week set Tuesday, March 24 as the date of a special election to fill the post vacated on Jan. 1 by new District Attorney Melinda Katz.

In the movie, Murray’s character is forced to relive the same day over and over. In Queens, March 24 will be the first of five times between spring 2020 and November 2021 that Queens voters will be asked to vote in a primary, general or special election for the office of borough president.

“I encourage all eligible Queens residents to vote in the upcoming special election, and I thank outgoing Borough President Melinda Katz for her leadership and increasing the World’s Borough’s diversity and dynamism, and wish her all the best in her new role,” the mayor said.

Katz, who would have been term-limited out of the office in 2021, vacated it on Wednesday when she was sworn in as Queens District Attorney. Katz’s deputy, Sharon Lee, is serving as acting borough president.

But the March election is just a temporary measure. In November there will be a general election to fill out the rest of Katz’s term, which of course means primaries beforehand this coming June — followed by primaries in June 2021 leading up to the November election that will fill the post for four years.

The Queens County Democratic Committee last week endorsed City Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) for the job. The timing and manner in which the meeting was conducted — it was scheduled at the party’s Forest Hills headquarters at 8:30 a.m. on less than two days’ notice — drew criticism from Councilmen Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) and Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria), who also are candidates along with former Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, former police officer Anthony Miranda and former Assistant Queens District Attorney James Quinn [see separate story in some editions or online at qchron.com]. Published reports also state that Daniel Maio, a Republican from Forest Hills who once ran for public advocate, has entered the race.

The candidates have 12 days to gather the 2,000 signatures they need to get on the ballot.

Van Bramer cited the deadline in an email to his supporters about 10 minutes after de Blasio’s announcement, calling for volunteers who might have even “an hour or two” to help gather signatures.

The Constantinides campaign, in an email received by the Chronicle at the same time as Van Bramer’s, noted the March 24 date and followed with a statement on the councilman’s commitment to the environment, slowing rising rents and the local economy.

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