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Van Bramer Eyeing Another Run for Queens Borough President

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (Official New York City Council Photo by William Alatriste)

Dec. 7, 2020 By Allie Griffin and Christian Murray

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer is contemplating a run for Queens Borough President once again, campaign filings show.

Van Bramer has recently filed to run for borough president with the Campaign Finance Board and told Politico last month that he is “seriously considering” another go.

The council member would enter the 2021 race with significant resources — nearly $490,000 in campaign coffers, based on $8-to-$1 matching funds.

“I haven’t made a decision yet, but I’ve loved serving the people of Queens as a Council Member,” Van Bramer told the Queens Post. He added that he remains committed to helping his constituents and the city recover from the pandemic.

Should he run, Van Bramer would challenge Donovan Richards who assumed office last week after winning the June primary and November general election.

Richards’ term ends next year, since the November election determined who was to complete the remainder of former Borough President Melinda Katz’s term. Katz vacated the seat early to takeover as Queens District Attorney.

Van Bramer and Richards ran against one another in the crowded Democratic primary for the borough president job earlier this year. However, Van Bramer withdrew from the race in January 2020, citing family reasons.

During the campaign, Van Bramer positioned himself as the progressive candidate and attempted to paint Richards as part of the “Queens Machine,” since Richards was backed by the Queens County Democratic Party.

The pair often spared on the topic of real estate, with the scuttled Amazon deal being the subject of fierce debate. Van Bramer was against the tech giant coming to his district, while Richards had supported it for the 25,000 jobs it was expected to bring.

They have also differed on other developments. Richards supported the Industry Park rezoning in Brooklyn citing job creation, while Van Bramer opposed it saying that it would lead to the displacement of existing residents. The developer ended up withdrawing the plan.

The pair also clashed in the race over campaign contributions from real estate developers. Van Bramer made a decision in 2018 to stop accepting them, while Richards has continued to take them.

Van Bramer argued that candidates shouldn’t accept money from real estate companies since it could influence their land-use decisions. The borough president gets to weigh in on rezoning applications, which are typically filed by large developers.

Richards’ stance on real estate development has caught the attention of progressive leaders, with some talking about the need to challenge him, sources say.

Van Bramer does not have to decide whether or not to run until the end of February — when petitioning begins. Given the size of his campaign war chest, he doesn’t need to fundraise in the interim.

While the council member said he hasn’t made up his mind whether he will run, he did say he wants to help New York recover and in an equitable way.

“We have to do so much better for small businesses, for the thousands of unemployed New Yorkers struggling to make rent, immigrant communities devastated by COVID-19, and Black and Brown New Yorkers who deserve dignity and respect from police,” he said. “We need someone who’s going to fight for them all, not cozy up to power.”

Meanwhile, Richards’ spokesperson Tom Musich indicated that the borough president is concentrating on the task at hand.

“Queens Borough President Donovan Richards is focused on finding solutions to food insecurity, keeping small businesses open, and securing PPE for healthcare workers and first responders,” Musich said.

23 Comments

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Big John

There is this story about JVB witnessing a biker (in the protected bike lane) get hit by a car on the corner of 46th and 43rd, and running away. One of the stores in the area has the video, as the story goes…

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Dicky

Rumer has it there is video of him witnessing an accident where a car hit a biker in the protected bike lane he supported, and him running away. The accident may have took place on 46th and 43rd. Just saying.

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JaimeB

Jimmy van Job Killer and Donovan Defund Richards can join forces: one can bring the whole borough economic ruin, drag racing, street disorder, and faux wokeness, while the other can import the Rockaways’ homicide rates while abolishing police precincts in every corner.

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Theresa A. Noel

He should leave the area-the turn coat-Remember Amazon ? He is not suitable for this position if he has no concern for bringing Legit Business to QUeens.

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JOR

Come on Sunnyside Post, don’t turn chicken now! You left out the best, and most relevant, parts of the debate between Van Bramer and Donovan Richards:
* “I just want to point out history,” Richards said to Van Bramer. “You sent two letters of support for Amazon in the community and then you had a change of heart automatically when AOC [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] was elected.”
* “Let’s discuss the other guy [Van Bramer] who supported Joe Crowley over @AOC and all of a sudden is anti-establishment. [Van Bramer] also sent two letters of support for Amazon to come to LIC, before he knew what was in the deal and talked to his community.”
* “There’s been no one who’s taken more real estate [money] in his entire career than Jimmy Van Bramer,” Richards alleged.
I guess Dennis Walcott couldn’t deliver a job to JVB and so now he’s again looking for elected position.

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Jill

Van Bramer is well known and liked throughout nyc and very popular among young white progressives. An endorsement from AOC and the like will better his chances.

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Beth

So due to term limits another socialists will be elected for city council in our district. The neighborhood and how people think and vote has changed.

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Gardens Watcher

What a surprise (not). The last primary was a street brawl with a crowded field. Ain’t going to be any prettier next round. And Richards is going to be as aggressive next year to protect his position as an incumbent.

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Enough

James Van Bramer has two faces. He and his staff functioned for two terms. Now he is only about his own career. If Donovan Richards is not your liking, there are other candidates.

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