On Monday night, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz celebrated with her supporters in Forest Hills following the Board of Elections’ statement that after an exhaustive recount, she had a 60-vote lead in the Democratic Primary for Queens District Attorney. “The parties that were the subject of the litigation that’s coming up…were given full, fair, open, and transparent access to every step of these proceedings,” said Board of Elections Executive Director Michael Ryan. “At the conclusion, the faith of the public will rest easy.”
According to the certified hand-count, Katz had 34,920 votes and Cabán had 34,860. The former prosecutor and judge, Gregory Lasak, was third with 13,048 votes.
Cabán will be going to court, requesting that 114 provisional ballots tossed out by election authorities be restored to the count. These ballots were rejected for failing to list the party’s name, or registering for the Democratic Party after the filing deadline.
The race received national attention as it focused on criminal justice reforms, the proposal to close and relocate the Rikers Island Prison Complex, and the battle within the Democratic Party between established moderates and insurgent leftists represented by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
At Katz’s volunteer appreciation party, local Jewish supporters included Rabbi Hayim Schwartz, Rabbi Avrohom Hecht, Meshulam Lisker, Jennifer Martin, Shimi Pelman, and Aaron Cyperstein. Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal, Brooklyn Councilman Kalman Yeger, and Rabbi Daniel Pollack from Rep. Grace Meng’s office were also present. Since the June 25 primary, Pelman has been carrying voter registration cards to community events, to make sure that everyone understands the importance of voting.
With Katz likely to win in the general election this November, Queens Republicans are retaining Daniel Kogan as their ballot line place holder. He is not expected to run an active campaign for District Attorney. The real battle coming up will be to serve the remainder of Katz’s last term as Borough President. Potential candidates include former Middle Village Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (cousin of former county party chair Joe Crowley) and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer of Sunnyside (a supporter of Cabán).
Councilman Donovan Richards of Far Rockaway has also been discussed as a possible candidate, as he has strong black and Jewish support beyond this district. Whitestone Councilman Paul Vallone has also been discussed as a potential contender, coming from a family with a long history in politics whose name is well known in western and northeast Queens.
By Sergey Kadinsky