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Van Bramer Drops Out of Borough President Race, Cites Family Reasons

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer

Jan. 21, 2020 By Christian Murray and Allie Griffin

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer announced Tuesday that he is dropping out of the race to be Queens Borough President.

Van Bramer, in an email released by his campaign this morning, cited family reasons.

“Prioritizing my responsibilities as a son and brother is where my attention needs to be right now,” he wrote.

“My family is the reason I love this borough and its residents,” he said. “They are the ones who instilled Queens values in me and inspired me to be an advocate for working families. But family circumstances have been weighing on me for some time—causing me to reconsider the timing and feasibility of this campaign.”

Van Bramer was the first to announce his bid for the seat vacated by Melinda Katz.

He positioned himself as the progressive candidate fighting against the “Queens Machine” party establishment and earned several endorsements from notable progressives including gubernatorial candidate and “Sex and the City” actress Cynthia Nixon, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and law professor Zephyr Teachout.

As an outspoken opponent of the Amazon HQ2 deal in his district, the Council Member doubled down in his campaign for Borough President and committed to take zero money from the real estate industry.

However, his record on those points was scrutinized at a recent forum in Sunnyside by fellow candidate and Council Member Donovan Richards — after Richards, who supported the Amazon HQ2 deal, was accused of being the billionaire’s candidate.

Richards, who is accepting real estate contributions, criticized Van Bramer for his history of taking contributions from developers.

While Van Bramer did not take real estate contributions in his campaign for borough president, he has taken large sums from the industry in the past, according to filings.

For instance in the 2017 election cycle his campaign received a significant amount from the owners and employees of large New York real estate companies — including those based in his district in Long Island City.

Van Bramer’s relationship with the Queens County Democratic Party — also known as the “Queens Machine” — was also questioned by Richards, who was endorsed in this race by the party.

Richards noted that Van Bramer endorsed Joseph Crowley, the long-time head of the Queens machine, over Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the 2018 primary.

In addition to endorsing Crowley in the Congressional primary, Van Bramer’s 2017 campaign also contributed funds to the party and party-backed candidates.

Following Van Bramer’s announcement to drop out of the race, Richards complimented his former opponent in a tweet.

@JimmyVanBramer has always added breadth to the discourse on the future of Queens and I know that he will continue to do so.”

On Tuesday, Van Bramer said that he would continue to battle for the people of Queens in his campaign statement.

“I will, of course, continue to fight for the working people of our borough and city every day on the New York City Council and beyond,” he said.

The special election for Queens Borough President will be held on March 24. The winner will serve the remainder of Katz’s term through the end of 2020.

However, there will be an election for the borough president again in November, with the primary for that race in June. Despite dropping out, Van Bramer will have the opportunity to run again.

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37 Comments

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Bernadette Barrett

Corey Johnson is another one we don’t want as mayor. He is another
DiBlasio 😱

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Sandra

I am sure Van Bramer will run again for QBP after this special election. He has so many supporters throughout Queens and the 5 boroughs. I admire the fact that he is putting his family first.

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Shame on you Jimmy!

Van Bramer took $14,500 from Queens Medallion Taxi – a company that rides the backs of the poor and predominantly immigrant population who struggle to provide for their families driving taxis. Shame on your Jimmy! Give it back Jimmy!

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Jazmin

That is what happens when you focus way too much on identity politics because you think it appeals to particular parties. You come out looking like a fool when you can not respond to accusations that you negatively impacted a specific group with your decisions. Do your homework. Go beyond LIC, Astoria, and Sunnyside and start talking with other groups of people who are not interested in just taking selfies with you before claiming you know what is best for them. Richards Duke knew what and whom to focus on during the debate.

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Gardens Watcher

JVB is still the Deputy Leader of NYC Council. Term expires 2021.

QB Pres candidate field is crowded now, but will thin out by March. And then we get to vote —again and again.

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Mac

You do know over four fifths of the posts on this stream is one person. This is my first post on this this particular comment stream. Good luck JVB.

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Gardens Watcher

Tomas, he was the first to enter the race and surely knew a borough-wide race would be a tough one, maybe more so for a white, gay man. I’ll give him credit for trying, and give him space to deal with his family issues.

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Sharon

I am sure that Cynithia Nixon and Kal Penn are devastated by the news. I can imagine Jimmy checking his twitter feed every minute minute waiting for at least a sad face emoji from AOC.

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LIC Direct

Just hope that he read all the disappointments posted by his constituents in the Sunnyside Post. Now What family issues? Is it a scandal that is brewing in his office? He knew he can’t win so be bailed-out. His own party did not endorse him. Corey Johnson and Mayor DiBlasio broke ground on the new Hotel industry medical offices last week on 37th St and they snubbed Jimmy – no photo-op for you JVB. Two more years, he’ll make a run for another public office he’ll swap with Gianaris or Queens library chairman – position now occupied by Dennis Walcott.

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Elen

There is no way you can become Queens Borough President when another candidate accuses your political actions of costing hundreds of jobs which could of went to the Queens Bridge residents (mostly the black/brown vote) and you have no plan you think of to make up for it or a good response that will make that group agree with your reasoning.

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Sad

Well that just puts a damper to his whole working class agenda of staying strong to help working families in Queens.

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Sunnyside Calling

Good riddance. AOC and the junior varsity communists’ days are numbered and JVB made a huge tactical error aligning with them. It’s time to join the private sector: His time has passed.

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Anonymous

he got caught with his hands in the cookie jar and they proved it – every politician that gets caught always says because of family

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Karen

I guess what happened last night with the meeting was enough for him to call it quits. He can not handle the truth coming out that would tarnish his image even further.

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Gardens Watcher

His statement says he is dropping out of the race “at this time.” Doesn’t say he’s quitting his current job.

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#dumpdeblasio

Not buying it! Standard excuse “family reasons” – never defined. He saw that his neighbors were angry, so he bailed.

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Woodside Wife

Hope his donors all get refunds. Can’t keep it since he’s going back to private citizenry. Just like Harry and Meg….

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Bye Bye you socialist fools

Jimmy got ridiculed by Donovan Richards at the town hall the other night and didn’t pass the litmus test. Obviously he is not a good enough mouth piece for the Socialist agenda that AOC had him try and push. Thank goodness the hardworking law abiding people of queens are smart enough to have seen through their ridiculous rhetoric. And by the way Gianiris & AOC listen up. Both your reelection time is fast approaching so you may want to start packing your personnel belongings.

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HPS resident

I am sure the real reason is that he finally realized he no longer has enough support from his constituents and that he really screwed up with the Amazon deal. He heard the few who complained without realizing that there were way way more people in favor of Amazon coming to Queens. He made a big mistake now he is paying for it.

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Liz

Its similar to what Harry did. If there is no way you will get the throne you might as well dump your title for more media attention and better financial opportunities while trying to show everyone how hard working and righteous you are to the working folks.

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Jill

I’m sure he will endorse whoever is the front runner/projected winner for Queens Borough President very soon no matter where they stand on certain issues.

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Neziah Bliss

Whoa. Didn’t see that coming. He had my vote and I think it’s a loss for neighborhood and borough. The trolls on this site should start looking for their next victim ASAP- what will they do when they can’t whine about JVB? Who will be responsible for all their problems beside, AOC? I’m concerned for the trolls most of all…

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Saki

Can you give up his City Council seat now? Or will he wait until his term is over to vote him out.

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tomas

He must of realized that Queens is just to diverse and full of moderate democrats to run for Borough President. Playing the gay card will only get you so far when you flip flop on moderate/liberal democratic issues issues through the years.

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McBride

Thank the Lord. Van Bramer is exactly a slippery slimy politician to only say what people want to hear.
Then only do the donors work. He reminds me of “Vote Quimby” from the Simpson’s.

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