Republicans are poised to expand their ranks in New York City’s progressive-dominated legislative body, following an unexpectedly strong GOP showing in a handful of City Council races

Their apparent victories in Queens, southern Brooklyn, and Staten Island — along with a stunning potential upset in Bay Ridge — could leave the GOP with six seats on the 51-member council, doubling their current representation.

While Democrats remain firmly in control of the city power structure, the addition of more Republicans to the City Council was hailed as a promising bellwether by some right-leaning New Yorkers.

“What happened last night is very important in setting the tone for next year’s races for governor, congress, and the legislature,” Fran Vella-Marrone, the chairwoman of the Brooklyn Conservative Party, said on Wednesday. “It’s a building block.”

In one of the closest-watched races, Joann Ariola, the Queens GOP Party chair, beat out progressive first-time candidate Felicia Singh, maintaining a seat previously held by moderate Republican Eric Ulrich, the borough’s lone Republican.

The campaign followed a now familiar narrative, with Ariola accusing Singh of advancing a “radical” anti-police agenda that was out of step with the district, which includes the Rockaways, Ozone Park, and Woodhaven.

But not all GOP victories hewed to the same public safety-focused template. In multiple races, moderate Democrats with the backing of police unions found themselves unable to beat their Republican challengers: On Staten Island, Republican David Carr trounced Sal Albanese by a margin of more than 2 to 1; in heavily-Russian and Orthodox Jewish southern Brooklyn, Republican Inna Vernikov was also up more than 25 percentage points on Steven Saperstein, another police-friendly Democrat.

READ MORE: What Does An NYC City Council Member Do?

The early results, which have not been finalized, come as Republicans find themselves battling for a pair of seats that were widely believed to be out of contention.

Democratic Councilman Justin Brannan, whose name has been floated as a possible City Council Speaker, was locked in a too-close-to-call race against Republican Brian Fox. While Fox led by roughly 250 votes on Wednesday afternoon, Brannan said he remained confident that he would win once the absentee ballots were fully counted.

A polling place on Election Day, November 2nd, 2021.

Scott Heins / Gothamist

In northeast Queens, Vickie Paladino was on track to pull off a surprise upset against Tony Avella, a moderate Democrat who has previously represented the district in both the City Council and State Senate.

Paladino, who made headlines last year for leading a maskless “COVID conga line” at a Republican event, ran an unsuccessful State Senate bid three years ago. During that campaign, she garnered criticism for her embrace of far-right figures, including Proud Boys and outright neo-Nazis, and for railing against “illegals” and the “twisted LGBT activist community.”

Amy Herzog, a media studies professor at Queens College and local resident, described the success of Paladino and Ariola as a “backlash to the success of progressive Democrats across Queens.”

“I was hearing resentment from conservative neighbors that was couched in discussions of public safety but was really pretty thin veiled racial resentments,” Herzog said. “It’s really discouraging and doesn’t bode well for the midterms.”

Election night brought a slew of other disappointments for local Democrats, including the failure of multiple ballot initiatives aimed at expanding voting rights and consecutive Republican victories in closely-contested District Attorneys races on Long Island.

Despite a double-digit polling lead, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy was essentially tied with his Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli.

READ MORE: Nail-Biter In New Jersey: Governor Murphy And Republican Challenger Ciattarelli In Too-Close-To-Call Race

In the five boroughs, political observers theorized that New York City’s uncompetitive mayoral race kept many Democrats home, or that some city residents had grown frustrated with eight years of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s progressivism.

John Mollenkopf, a political science professor and the director of CUNY’s Center for Urban Research, cautioned against drawing premature conclusions, particularly given the “idiosyncratic” nature of City Council races.

“We like to think of Trump-land as some other place than New York, but we have some of Trump-land in New York City,” he added.

Asked about the Republican success in the City Council on Wednesday, Mayor-elect Eric Adams said he saw his political opponents as “part of the same team.”

“How do we move our city forward?” he asked. “I'm going to build those bridges and not blow those bridges up.”

A previous version of this story misstated the number of votes that Councilman Brannon trailed Brian Fox. The piece has been updated.