You are reading

Newcomer Mamdani Beats Incumbent Simotas for Astoria Assembly Seat

Zohran Mamdani (L) and Aravella Simotas (R) (Source: Respective Campaigns)

July 22, 2020 By Allie Griffin

Progressive newcomer and housing counselor Zohran Mamdani has beaten incumbent Aravella Simotas in a close Democratic primary to represent Astoria in the State Assembly.

Simotas — who was first elected in 2010 — conceded to the first-time candidate and Democratic Socialists of America member today.

“I congratulate @ZohranKMamdani for his win and a well-run election,” Simotas tweeted. “I wish you the best as you begin your legislative career and fight for the 36th Assembly District.”

Mamdani led Simotas by 589 in-person votes on the night of the June 23 election. Mamdani took about 54 percent of the vote to Simotas’ 46 percent, according to the unofficial results.

However, an unprecedented number of absentee ballots cast in this year’s primary slowed down the official count.

The Board of Elections tallied absentee votes today, but has yet to release any of the numbers publicly.

Mamdani was at Queens Borough Hall today to check in on the count. He announced that his own campaign’s tally puts him in the lead by more than 300 votes.

“Based on our internal tally, we finished ahead by over 300 votes – more than enough to avoid a recount & ensure our victory,” he tweeted. “Socialism won.”

“I’m honored and humbled by the trust placed in me by the voters of Astoria,” Mamdani said in a statement.

Mamdani’s win is yet another example of the rising success of progressive candidates in Queens, catapulted in 2018 by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s victory over Joseph Crowley in the primary for the 14th Congressional District.

Mamdani rallied against the “Queens Machine” Democratic party establishment in his victory statement.

“They had money, but we had people. They had a machine, but we had a movement,” he said. “And that’s why today, we won.”

The Indian-Ugandan New Yorker said his campaign advocated for Muslim and South Asian communities in Astoria and inspired them to register to vote.

“They deserve someone who not only knows the challenges they face, because they come from that community, but someone who’s willing to stand up for them in Albany too.”

email the author: [email protected]


Click for Comments 
William Ulrich

I hope you do more for us than she did let’s see what you do I hope we didn’t make a mistake putting you in office that’s


Yes, Astoria is progressing on violent crime, trashy and smelly streets, vulgar behavior, street racing, all-nighter loud music, etc. What else a progressive neighborhood needs?

Dr jose

The ballots haven’t been all counted yet . Yet candidates are declaring victories

Astoria Blvd Man

If he’s anti-rich maybe he can do something about the helicopters over Astoria. I live on Astoria Blvd and they are LOUD! There are also too many of them flying to Long Island (the rich). How about taxing the hell out of each trip and giving it to the people affected by the noise???????????


Wow now the Democratic party has been turned into the Socialist party. This changes will make many change party affiliation.

Corner stone

This is why I’m leaving Astoria after being raised here since I was 5 years old I am now 42 and seen how horrible this area has become with all the ghetto people out at night and this guy won. Good luck.. there was shooting on 36 and 28 avenue.


I’ve been here the same as you and I’m a little older. I think the area is a lot better. Where else have you lived? The area has some of the top performing schools.


These romantic leftists have no idea about living in socialism. You will lose your everything before even you realize it. As an immigrant I run away from it to have my freedom in this country. So disappointed…

Can Socialism create jobs.

Socialism does not create jobs.
Redistribution specialists.

Pat Macnamara

let the drive by shootings continue! viva la socialists and dont mess with the Zohran.


A bait and switch. He ran as a Democrat in a Democratic Primary but says Socialism won.

Craig FU

Do you cash your unemployment checks?

Do you have car insurance?

You’re a socialist.

Craig F

Hmm, I have a job and what’s insurance have to do with socialism? The dude never mentioned free everything and socialism until he won. Bait and switch


Insurance balances the risk between high risk and low risk. So high risk people benefit from low risk people.


high risk people get put into a high risk pool and pay a lot more…under socialism high risk people pay nothing and create more high risk people…

Barbara Bouie

Congratulations to Mandani!! So happy to see a news face in that seat. He tweeted “socialism won”, and it will continue until this capitalist country is handed over to the movement! #BLM

Craig f

If he’s so proud of being a socialist he should have said that on his sidewalk chalks in Astoria. Another misleading person who should actually be furloughed and see how it feels


Me too. Just put my apartment for sale. The Pandemic and now this crime wave was the final straw.


Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Op-ed: An urgent call for revising NY’s criminal justice reforms to protect public safety

Apr. 11, 2024 By Council Member Robert Holden

In 2019, the State Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo embarked on a controversial overhaul of New York’s criminal justice system by enacting several laws, including cashless bail and sweeping changes to discovery laws. Simultaneously, the New York City Council passed laws that compounded these challenges, notably the elimination of punitive segregation in city jails and qualified immunity for police officers. These actions have collectively undermined public safety and constrained law enforcement effectiveness.

Astoria welcomes ‘Our House’: A new co-working and community space

Apr. 11, 2024 By Allison Kridle

If you were to ask a Queens resident what’s one thing they want more of, they will likely reply: Space. For Astorians, many crave a place to gather, work, create, and meet neighbors or somewhere that feels like home where they can be productive all in one. Astoria business owners Anna Budinger, Alexandra Wolkoff and Kayli Kunkel saw this void and created Our House, “Astoria’s living room.”