July 7, 2021 By Allie Griffin
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards declared victory in his bid for re-election Tuesday, while blasting his opponent as an alleged racist on Twitter.
Richards, the presumptive winner of the Democratic primary for borough president, released two victory statements — one via Twitter and one via a spokesperson — with very different tones Tuesday.
“We beat your racist a**,” Richards wrote on Twitter, slamming opponent Elizabeth Crowley, who first lost to Richards in a special election for the BP seat last year.
The incumbent sent out a series of tweets after the Board of Elections (BOE) published the latest — and most complete — results of the borough president race Tuesday evening.
After absentee ballots were tallied, Richards maintained a narrow lead over former Council Member Crowley and cemented his all-but-guaranteed win as the Democratic nominee for Queens BP.
Richards mocked Crowley for the loss and alleged that she said the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement would die out.
“@ElizCrowleyNYC told me she would win, because BLM would die?” Richards, who is an African American, tweeted. “What’s good now?”
Richards told the Queens Post that he would not be silent in the face of racism.
He alleged that Crowley repeatedly implied that he won last year’s election for the borough presidency because he was a Black man during a time of increased scrutiny on racism in America.
“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,” he told the Queens Post.
He also suggested that Crowley had asked him for a job at borough hall.
“You couldn’t force me to make you a deb bp,” the former Far Rockaway council member tweeted. “I stand on principle.”
Richards said Crowley threatened to run a divisive campaign if he didn’t offer her a job within his administration after his 2020 victory.
“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,” he said. “She clearly followed through on that threat, using the politics of fear throughout this race with mailers disguised as eviction notices and racist dog whistles within her messages on public safety.”
“As a Black man, I faced my own fair share of prejudice and I will not be silent when racist tactics are clearly at play,” he said in a statement.
Crowley, a staunch opponent of the defund the police movement, did not respond to Richards’ tweets. A spokesperson for her campaign did not address Richards’ allegations and instead referred the Queens Post to a general campaign statement she posted on social media.
Richards’ tweets went viral Tuesday night as many politicos and Queens residents watched the saga unfold.
Several praised Richards for calling Crowley out and referred to him admirably as “king.”
“I am sorry to know that you had to face it,” Queens Assembly candidate Mary Jobaida replied. “Regardless of some political differences, racism must not be tolerated in any way!”
Bronx Assembly Member Amanda Septimo tweeted a congrats to Richards on his win and for “keeping it real.”
“A well-placed “what’s good” will never be wrong in my book,” she wrote in reference to his tweet.
However, others said Richards’ comments provided more insight into his character than Crowley’s.
“Never heard of a sore winner, until now,” user @ChanakyaDc replied.
Another Twitter follower called Richards’ tweets embarrassing to his supporters, who the user said deserve more respect.
“This is embarrassing for your supporters and campaign volunteers…,” user @NYCdisinterest tweeted. “Save these schoolyard taunts for the group texts and donor dinners. They’re beneath the office you were seeking. Do better.”
A Bronx council candidate also voiced her concern, but congratulated Richards nonetheless.
“I understand where you are coming from but we are better than this,” candidate Lattina Brown replied. “Proud of your work and congratulations!”
Assembly Member Septimo, however, said that calls for cordiality in politics are often a way to silence the abused.
“**ps calls for decorum in politics are usually calls for people to tolerate & accept abuse in silence, which like….no,” she tweeted.
Richards tweeted the thread attacking Crowley after sending out earlier tweets declaring his victory.
He tweeted the lyrics to South Jamaica-native 50 Cent’s “Many Men (Death Wish)” as well as selfie with the caption “We won!!!!!” before he blasted his opponent.
Richards used a more formal tone in an official statement sent by his campaign spokesperson Tuesday.
“I am honored that the voters have placed their faith in me to continue our Queens comeback…” Richards said. “We’re ready to get back to work and build a Queens that works for everyone.”
He thanked his staffers and volunteers for their work on the campaign.
“I would like to thank everyone on my team for their incredible effort on this campaign, especially our devoted campaign staff and volunteers,” he said. “If you made a call, knocked on a door, or sent a text — you made this happen! Let’s celebrate this victory and then, let’s get to work!”
The Queens borough president race surprised many political insiders who believed it would be an easy win for the incumbent. Richards won by a margin of less than one percentage point ahead of Crowley, who vastly outspent him on her campaign and sent out ads attacking his record.
Crowley has yet to concede in the race.
“This is a very close election,” she tweeted Wednesday. “Our campaign is evaluating the numbers from the Board of Elections and will make a determination about our next steps once every vote gets counted.”
A third candidate, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, came in a distant third place.
The BOE is expected to certify the official results sometime next week.
The winner — presumably Richards — will compete in a November general election for the seat.
“I’m proud of the positive campaign we ran throughout this election,” Richards told the Queens Post. “The people of Queens voted for me to get the job done. Now let’s get back to work.”