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Queens Chronicle

It’s official: Cabán concedes to Katz

Six weeks after primary, Borough Prez wins Dem DA nod by 55 votes

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Posted: Thursday, August 8, 2019 10:30 am

Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice John Ingram said Tuesday that he was prepared to go into Wednesday as he oversaw the examination of disputed ballots in the Democratic primary for Queens district attorney.

Public defender Tiffany Cabán made that unnecessary, conceding the nomination to Queens Borough President Melinda Katz as the math turned inevitably against her.

Katz started the day with a 60-vote lead over Cabán, which narrowed to 55 by the end of the court proceedings at the Board of Elections offices in Kew Gardens.

From the very start, Ingram, with attorneys from both sides around him as they argued about squiggles, check marks and voter intent, ruled repeatedly in support of the Board of Elections’ decision to invalidate them. The Daily News reported that Katz came out ahead by a final tally of 34,913 to 34,858.

“I want to thank Tiffany Cabán for bringing closure to this long and hard-fought race,” Katz said in a statement issued by her campaign Tuesday night.

“Too often, the process of primary campaigns obscures the vast commonalities we share as Democrats and reformers,” Katz continued. “We all want a safe Queens where everyone is treated equally.

“From the beginning of this race, I have been committed to bringing fundamental change to the District Attorney’s office,” she continued. “With the horrors of this past weekend still in my mind, I believe we need to focus on reducing gun violence and put an end to the proliferation of hate crimes.”

Katz now will face off against Republican nominee Daniel Kogan, an attorney who to date has run a minimalist campaign. He even was quoted in the New York Post in June as saying he might not wage a serious battle for the general election.

The winner in November will replace the late Richard Brown, who served for more than 28 years. Brown, who announced earlier this year that he would not seek renomination as a Democrat because of ill health, was 86 when he died in May.

The New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, Cabán’s first major backer, put out a statement of thanks to its supporters and volunteers.

“NYC-DSA was the first organization to endorse Tiffany back in February, when no one believed that a queer Latina public defender running on a bold agenda of decarceration and refusing money from corporations stood a chance of becoming the next DA,” they said Tuesday night. “What they didn’t realize was that it was precisely that agenda that would inspire hundreds of people to collect thousands of petition signatures, knock on tens of thousands of their neighbors’ doors, and help bring that agenda to the precipice of a borough-wide victory.”

Cabán was ahead by more than 1,000 votes at the end of Primary Night on June 25. But Katz declined to concede, forcing the Board of Elections to open the absentee, affidavit and provisional ballots and conduct a recount of all machines in all precincts.

There originally were seven candidates in all, with Katz easily securing the endorsement of the Queens County Democratic Party. Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) bowed out days before the primary, by which time Cabán was recognized as a serious threat to defeat Katz.

The race was seen as an important one to win for U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens, Nassau), who earlier this year succeeded former Congressman Joe Crowley as party chairman. U.S. Rep Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx, Queens), who backed Cabán, shook up the national political scene when she upset Crowley in a primary last year.

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