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Queens Chronicle

Katz will not run on GOP line

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Posted: Wednesday, July 3, 2019 12:52 pm

Melinda Katz hasn’t conceded the race for Queens District Attorney — a count of absentee ballots and affidavits is still pending — but if she doesn’t overcome Tiffany Cabán, the borough president said she will not run in the general election as a Republican.

“All votes must be counted in the Democratic Primary for Queens District Attorney, but regardless of outcome, I have declined the Republican Party nomination for Queens District Attorney,” Katz said in a prepared statement. “I believe in Democratic principles and they have led my career.”

Joann Ariola Shanks, chairwoman of the Queens Republican Party, said no official offer was made and she had not even had a conversation with Katz.

“You cannot decline what you have not been offered,” Ariola Shanks said.

She added, “I didn’t understand the need for her statement. It’s like declining a date to the prom before you were ever even asked.”

Ariola Shanks said the wording of Katz’s statement “took me a bit by surprise” and doesn’t believe the state committee members would have voted in favor of it, even if an offer was made.

Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) told the Daily News that he and Katz “had multiple conversations about the general election but she was never formally offered the nomination by the Queens GOP. Most of our conversations were hypothetical and off the record.”

Another possible choice for Queens Republicans could be former Supreme Court Justice Greg Lasak, who finished third in the Democratic primary. Ariola Shanks said Lasak has not asked about the nomination, though Republican candidate Daniel Kogan said in media interviews he’d step aside.

“He’s not said that to me,” Ariola Shanks said.

One issue is that the declaration period is over, she said, though a candidate can be removed from a race if he or she decided to run for a judgeship.

However, Kogan hasn’t been offered a judgeship and it couldn’t happen until the judicial convention in August.

“There are a lot of what-ifs, but I’m dealing with what is,” Ariola Shanks said. “And what is, is that the Queens County GOP has made no offer to Melinda Katz, formally, no offer to Greg Lasak, formally, and we have Daniel Kogan on our line permanently.”

One example of a candidate running on another line was in 2017 when Bob Holden lost the Democratic primary to then-Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley but defeated her in the general election on the Republican line.

“There are certain principles with candidates that the Republican Party could never, ever endorse,” Ariola Shanks said.

“But there are candidates in other parties that are more on the conservative side.

“We’re in the business of winning races. Although we like to have our own enrolled candidates, we gave [district attorney] Dick Brown our endorsement all throughout the years.”

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