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Cabán Concedes to Katz in Queens DA Primary Race

Tiffany Cabán announced her concession Tuesday night at Katch in Astoria | Queens Post Photo

Aug. 7, 2019 By Allie Griffin

The fierce six-weeks-long battle between Public Defender Tiffany Cabán and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz has finally ended when Cabán conceded in the DA primary race Tuesday.

After she failed to win back enough ballots to surpass Katz’s narrow lead in a court decision yesterday, Cabán announced her concession at Katch beer garden in Astoria last night to a crowd of about 150 people. The final margin separating the candidates was just 55 votes.

State Sen. Mike Gianaris and Assembly Member Ron Kim were among the electeds at the party, a thank you event for her volunteers. From Katch’s back patio, Cabán made her concession announcement and admitted that she was a political newcomer up against the establishment favorite.

“I am a 32-year-old queer Latina public defender. I don’t look like our politicians, I don’t sound like most of them. I’d never run a campaign before.”

After the June 25 primary’s results came in, Cabán originally declared victory with more than 1,100 votes ahead of Katz, but when affidavit and absentee ballots were counted, Katz jumped ahead by a mere 16 votes. The slim margin called for a weeks-long manual recount in which more than 90,000 ballots were sorted and recounted. At its completion, Katz came out as the winner by a 60 vote difference.

Then on July 29, the Board of Elections certified the results and declared Katz winner, but it wasn’t over yet. Next came the court battle with Cabán’s campaign challenging dozens of ballots that it said had been wrongly invalidated.

On Tuesday, the judge presiding over the hearing reviewed the ballots in question at a Board of Elections office in Forest Hills, but with only a handful of votes revalidated — the final count gave Katz a 55 vote lead. Cabán then decided to concede rather than continue in court.

“I want to thank Tiffany Cabán for bringing closure to this long and hard-fought race,” Katz said in a statement. “Too often, the process of primary campaigns obscures the vast commonalities we share as Democrats and reformers. We all want a safe Queens where everyone is treated equally.”

While Cabán may have lost, she was proud of what she had accomplished in pushing her party to adopt more liberal policies.

“We completely transformed the conversation around criminal justice reform in this city. We forced the next District Attorney to end ALL cash bail,” Cabán said. “We pushed the decriminalization of sex work into the Presidential campaign.”

She added, “We may have scared Cy Vance out of even running again. And trust me—we terrified the Democratic establishment.”

The New York Working Families Party agreed. “Tiffany Caban transformed the debate on criminal justice reform, not just in Queens but across the city and country as well,” the party’s State Director Bill Lipton said in a statement. “She proved that progressive campaigns and the progressive movement can succeed across a borough as big and diverse as Queens, and that voters want fundamental changes to our justice system. We hope more courageous candidates like Tiffany run for office everywhere.”

While Lipton congratulated Katz, he critiqued the voting system. “This race also exposed how broken our election system remains,” he said. “Let’s be clear: eligible Queens voters were disenfranchised by the mistakes and incompetence of the BOE. We must enact reforms to ensure that every vote is counted.”

Cabán encouraged those she inspired to run and promised to help them along the way.

“To every young person, to every woman, to every person of color, to every Queer person, every single human being who was inspired by the campaign we built—you are next. And I promise, I will be the first one knocking doors for you.”

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74 Comments

Gardens Watcher

Some of the race-based posts here are sounding dubious.

Per Richard Engel’s report on NBC Nightly News tonight 8/8, Russian trolls are stepping up efforts to interfere with U.S. elections in advance of the 2020 election by stoking racial tensions.

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Queens Crap

We have election interference here in Queens. Every pol here, Meeks, Mens, Nolan, Vanbramer know that Virginia Joe Crowley and the three attorneys from Long Island control the BOE and have CHOSEN every single politician in Queens for two decades, and organized their victories with Board of Election, which they control. Only one not beholden to them is AOC. Crowley never even won legitimately.

We have election tampering here in Queens. Focus on that.

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Gardens Watcher

So apparently you’re still working for AOC. Your rants sound like QueensCrap.

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Ron

I agree with you as far as some of the posts. As if someone is purposely writing them trying to make things seem a lot worse than what they are around here.

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Reggie

Yes, I agree. Some of these comments are indeed ridiculous and over-the-top. I see the same thing on Twitter. Very suspicious and dubious posts.

This primary was fair and square. It all boiled down to turnout. As someone else mentioned, if Lasak hadn’t run, Katz would’ve walked away with the election.

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FZ

Yeah, Russians? ROFL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When the Russians were Soviet the NY Democrats loved them and loved that Gorbachev

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Holden MV

It’s scarier to have Katz, who is a puppet of the Queens Machine, and has zero courtroom experience, and never working in criminal justice. He was a real estate lobbyist? How is she qualified to be Queens’ top prosecutor? She is a puppet?
How is Katz qualified? No one seems to explain that? Just because she was chosen by Joe Crowley ?

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Gardens Watcher

The Riddler is back. Still misusing his question mark.

Same bat time, same bat channel.

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Gardens Watcher

“We all want a safe Queens where everyone is treated equally.”

Nicely put. That pretty much sums up where we need to be.

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Rick

Establishment Dems always win at the last moment with votes that weren’t there at first count. Just sayin

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Gardens Watcher

“First count” on election night is always preliminary and never includes mail-in ballots like absentee or military ballots. Or affidavits.

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Buck

Even though a tight, tight race – Caban is defeated again. I guess folks aren’t totally ready for the socialist revolution promised by AOC.

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Kenneth Woodside

It was rigged for Katz. Queens Board of Election run by corrupt machine controlled ballots, which got kept, and failed to advised voters they suspected as Caban supporters, if their votes had mistakes, to disqualify and they “helped” Katz voters.
This will come out in coming months, and then what will happen to Katz if this fraud is uncovered?

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Gardens Watcher

Election was not “rigged.” No evidence of fraud. As for the contested affidavit ballots, Judge Ingram followed the rule of law and wisely said:

“I’m going to rule that the poll workers have no affirmative duty to check, verify and make corrections — or suggest corrections — to the voter. The voter has some responsibility here to comply with instructions.”

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BobRooney

considering how obama promised and deceived everyone, i am not shocked. the progressives are hilarious at best. all i see is those wanting to grab power and money, like deblasio.

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Elizabeth

Renting out my home in Sunnyside and living on Long Island the past 10 years, I would hope the good people of Queens just look to LA and San Francisco to see how the liberal agenda turns out.

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Indira

So, it looks like Queens is going socialist, based on the razor thin margin. I heard Tiffany is looking to run again for some type of public office. We hope she does.

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Gardens Watcher

The razor-thin margin was in a primary of about 10 percent of Democrats voting in a seven-person race. Queens isn’t going socialist, comrade.

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Queens Crapper

No, Queens is actually a communist dictatorship.
Our “Putin” is Virgina Joe Crowley and his corrupt Machine, still running the BOE from Long Island. They have appointed every pol we have in Queens, and that is community comrade lackey.

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Raul

I guess if an AOC endorsement lost by 60 votes that’s enough for all the racists and bigot commenters on this page to get excited.

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Oscar

How many more generations should minorities have to live in the shadows of the 1 percent?? The polls originally indicated that Caban won. And she celebrated her win. But because this system is so jealous, they sought to take back what she rightfully earned.

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Gardens Watcher

Wrong Oscar. The results on election night were too close to call. And the Board of Elections totals are always “preliminary” until the race is certified by the BOE. Cabán prematurity declared victory, when she should have waited until the absentee and other provisional paper ballots were validated and counted. And this time they were recounted.

It was a very close race and there were seven candidates. Nothing was stolen.

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Oscar M.

It was stolen and everyone knows it.
Establishment rigged it for Katz.

Katz never even worked in a court room , or in justice system.

Someone said, once they fully investigate this, Katz win could go away? Let’s see

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Lee

If Lasak hadn’t ran then Katz would have walked it.Caban represented a small bunch of haters.

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Anonymous

“I am a 32-year-old queer Latina public defender.”
WTF does the fact that you are “queer” and “Latina” have to do with your qualifications for public office? Both Caban and Katz have proudly proclaimed that they will not enforce the laws as set by the NYS Legislature. Neither one of them is qualified to be the next Queens DA. My father a Democrat lifer before he died, said he never left the Democratic Party, it left him. It has become a disgrace. The Republican Party is a sad joke and no alternative.

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Nick

“I’m a gay, quad sexual black/latino bla blablabla, so vote for ME”. She tried to ride on AOC’s wave into the D.A. office at a time when AOC had already made too much of a fool of herself using identity politics. I hope Caban learned her lesson.

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Gardens Watcher

One takeaway lesson: If she does run for anything again, she should dump her PR firm. It was a poor campaign, starting with using the identity politics tag line and continuing with angry public statements which led to unfounded conspiracy theories.

Two glaring examples: Who advised contacting voters directly after the vote (but before the recount was done) to ask who they voted for? Who leaked the list of ACTUAL affidavit voter names to Channel 4 news, which NBC published on their website on the day she conceded. Maybe not illegal, but certainly unethical, and awful public relations strategy.

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Jerome

Katz has zero claim on ethics. Once investigated, lots of corruption will be exposed at Queens BOE. Queens Board of Elections has a long history of unethical behavior?? Do some background. Even last November 2018 they were found to have engaged in lots of election tampering.
Caban is not corrupt, leaders of Queens BOE are.

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Gardens Watcher

I never said Cabán was personally corrupt. I questioned her campaign’s tactics.

The BOE is bi-partisan by design, so has both Republicans and Democrats. That serves as a check on every step. There was NO evidence of “tampering,” and this election and the recount was done with the full scrutiny of both campaigns and public observers.

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jb

truly hoping that lasak will run as an independent.
He only lost because nobody knew who he was, and he sorely needed a campaign strategist.

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Liliana G.

Exactly
they would go after Joe Crowley in Virginia, his family, his Long Island attorneys Bolz, Reich and Sweeny , who have been controlling elections in Queens for 20 years. It’s still possible they will be investigated.

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Liliana

I support Tiffany Caban and thank her for all that she does. It is because of women like her that many of us decided to get involved in politics! As she believes, “We need to keep campaigning, electing and supporting people from our communities. Leaders who look like us—who come from our neighborhoods—who reflect our city.” Thank you!!

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Gardens Watcher

Great that you got inspired. Learn from her. Find your own voice. Build your resume with community service. Then you’ll have more cred to run for public office.

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Anonymous

If it took Caban running for office to get inspired you probably shouldn’t vote in any election.

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AOC for president 2024

Don’t even try to be the politician if you don’t have hispanic background, big secrets everyone knows, no one talks about. Save your time and effort.

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CC

From “The New Yorker” article June 4, 2019:
“Cabán promised that, if elected, she would decline to prosecute not only marijuana cases, turnstile jumping, and prostitution but also trespassing, disorderly conduct, loitering, drug possession, and welfare fraud.” Eventually all are local politicians will take this route. This is what many younger working voters want to hear and what will get them to the voting polls. Identity politics will also shift toward that direction.

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Jasmine

This election is proof that white people will do whatever it takes to stay in power. That’s what this country is all about. Their motives to steal and get over in elections is no different than dictatorship countries.

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Gardens Watcher

This is Queens baby. Check out our elected officials in office now. Lots of color in our big, beautiful borough.

This election is proof that voting matters and every vote matters. This is what democracy looks like.

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ProudLatina

I’m so heartbroken for Queens, NYC and the US at large. Tiffany is a leader and reformer the people deserve. I feel like this sets another unfortunate precedent in Democratic Party politics but if they’re hoping we’re defeated they’re sadly mistaken. Incidents such as these only increase our vigilance. Thank you for fighting the good fight! I look forward to seeing and supporting Tiffany in her next move. I hope she continues in public service as we need leadership like her.

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Gardens Watcher

“Incidents such as these only increase our vigilance.” What incidents?

Sounds like AOC speak.

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Rosa

The AOC wing of the Democratic Party is getting stronger!!! And we are all for it!! The margin by which Katz won—55 out of more than 90,000 ballots cast—was absurdly small.

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jake

For the “greatest democracy on the face of the earth”, the US has some backward voting procedures. Why the hell are we still using paper ballots in 2019?? The voting process should be as streamlined as possible so that the voter only has to worry about the the only thing that matters: voting.

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Gardens Watcher

The voting procedures vary widely in the USA. NYC scans Paper ballots, which provide a paper trail. That is important in close races that need a recount. Online voting is still too vulnerable to hacking.

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Gardens Watcher

Voters now have to be worried about foreign interference in our elections. Whether it’s Russia or China, or non-Democrats trying to vote in our Democratic primaries.

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Holden

We need to be worried about home-grown interference namely the corrupt Queens Machine. They orchestrated this win for Katz, as they have done every election in Queens for past 20 years.

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Gardens Watcher

It was a seven-person race, and each candidate worked hard to get out their votes. Kudos to all for trying, but Katz won fair and square.

If AOC hadn’t endorsed anyone (like she said she wouldn’t), we likely would not have had the “interference” of large amounts out-of-state donors and two presidential candidates influencing our local DA election.

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Jose

Democratic Party need to be very careful . This fringe group are not very nice people.

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LIC Direct

Where was Jimmy???? Nowhere to be seen at Tif Caban’s announcement. Now time for a change and get that weasel Jimmy Van Bramer and other’s who have held on for much to long out of public office altogether. All they do is transition from one public office to another – Katz from Assembly, to Borough President to DA. Jimmy termed out of the council wants to transition into the Borough President’s office and so on and so forth. enough already

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Progressive talk

Katz may not be the best choice, but Caban would have been an absolute disaster. Caban didn’t have a clue. Part of the “Progressive” wave that includes AOC. AOC was against the Amazon deal that would have created more than 25,000 direct jobs plus thousands of indirect jobs, but she never talks about the number of jobs she has actually created. Funny that. AOC talks in the abstract about jobs, including her Green New Deal, where people who are “unwilling” to work would be paid by the government, but she can not point to any actual jobs that she was instrumental in creating. Caban is cut from the same cloth, all talk, no action.

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Guest

Made a mistake of voting for AOC if that was the case, because I don’t think AOC alone is the reason Amazon decided not to come here. Since when do big corporations care what little people think? There must be something else behind Amazon fiasco.

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Kevin

no she is not, she is completely not corrupted, relies solely on small dollar donations.

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Gardens Watcher

Check the latest campaign finance disclosures. Not all small donors and not all from NY.

Cabán had some very large donors from out-of-state.

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Ben

Queens is still very blue with growing number of progressives and AOC and others will be fine in 2020. Caban lost by a very small margin. Katz was on ny1 yesterday expressing her thoughts on changes which sounded like some of Cabans with other wording.

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mark

Frankly, I think AOC is a media creation and most people don’t really care what she has to say or whom she endorses.

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Let the sensible people in

lets be realistic here, Queens or any other county for that matter, have a solid base of sensible people. Miss Caban and her entourage are representation of a very small Socialist party who’s policies are so far left that they will never go mainstream.

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Resident

Most estimates indicate that 6% of the population support the this far left lunatic fringe. There are lots of videos of the most recent Democratic Socialists of America convention, which clearly shows that these people are too triggered by normal, everyday life to organize anything more complex than a bake sale.

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