June 26, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan
As election results rolled in last night for the Queens District Attorney race, a stark contrast appeared between voters in eastern and western Queens.
Support for Tiffany Cabán, a 31-year-old queer Latina public defender, was overwhelmingly strong on the western side of the borough, particularly in Astoria, Long Island City and Ridgewood where political views have shifted heavily to the left in recent years.
By the end of the night, Cabán, a newcomer to politics, earned a small lead overall of 1,090 votes over Melinda Katz and declared victory shortly after 11 p.m. With close to 3,400 absentee ballots left to count in the election, Katz has not yet conceded, stating that every vote must be counted.
Last night’s results reaffirmed that longstanding elected officials, particularly in the rapidly gentrifying areas of western Queens, are at risk of being replaced by progressive newcomers looking to shake up the system.
Just last year, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a vocal supporter of Cabán, unseated decadeslong Congressman Joseph Crowley using a people-powered grassroots campaign.
The long-serving political leaders in these areas appear to have differing views from the majority of their constituents.
Assemblymember Catharine Nolan (District 37), who has represented Long Island City, as well as parts of Sunnyside and Ridgewood, for 35 years, endorsed Katz on Friday, stating that “we need someone with Melinda’s legal expertise and track record of public service in the DA’s office.”
As results came in, Nolan’s district had a clear preference for the democratic socialist candidate, with Cabán trouncing Katz with 4,658 votes to Katz’s 1,364.
Katz endorser Assembly Member Michael DenDekker (District 34), who has represented Woodside, Jackson Heights, and East Elmhurst for 11 years, saw similar clear support for the young public defender. Cabán received more than double the votes of Katz in DenDekker’s district.
“Western Queens came out in big numbers and voted in landslide proportions for Tiffany Cabán, demonstrating the power of the progressive left to win elections,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who was the first Queens elected official to endorse Cabán. “It’s a devastating blow to the machine and the establishment and I believe you will see more progressive candidates in each cycle and that includes next year’s state legislative races.”
The election results not only show a disconnect between leaders and constituents, but illustrated a discernible split within the borough. In central Queens (District 28), Katz barely squeaked by to surpass Cabán in several areas, including Rego Park, Middle Village and Forest Hills, largely due competitor Gregory Lasak took home a sizeable number of votes.
However, in south eastern Queens, Katz was the clear favorite. The Borough President earned nearly triple the number of votes when compared to Cabán in Jamaica, St. Albans and Laurelton.
Council Member Rory Lancman dropped out of the DA race on Thursday, just five days before the election, wanting to avoid the risk of a vote split, similar to what was seen in central Queen, in the south eastern portion of the borough where support for both Katz and Lancman was high.
In her speech at last night’s campaign event, Cabán vowed to win over those who had not voted for her.
“Whether I earned your vote or not, I will work every day to earn your trust,” Cabán said. “Transforming the system will not be easy, it will not happen overnight, but I am ready. We are ready.”
The remaining absentee ballots are expected to be counted in the coming weeks, with Board of Elections officials saying a final tally may not be given until July 3. The winner of yesterday’s Democratic primary will be the overwhelming favorite in November’s general election against Republican candidate Daniel Kogan.
Last night, only 11 percent of registered Queens Democrats voted.
All the Democratic candidates were way more “liberal”, or “progressive” than the former DA. Not much real difference in their positions either.
Unfortunately this local race morphed into a national symbol of the intra-party battle going on in the Democratic Party. And some local politicians used the race as an opportunity to seek revenge for endorsements received (or not received) in past elections.
We believe in equal justice under the law, right? So why do we elect Judges and DAs on party lines anyway? Party affiliation shouldn’t matter in the courtroom.
Interesting to see from the voting map that while Cabán won western Queens overall, Katz seems to have won the Queensbridge, Ravenswood, and Astoria Houses. Older African American voters apparently remained loyal to the mainstream Democrat, as they did to Hillary Clinton in 2016.
In this day and age people should be able to vote online. But for socialists it’s a no no as they know that this will enable more people to vote, people who don’t share in their socialist utopia political goals.
It’s conservatives who are always blocking such changes.
Have you been reading the news at all?
Online voting is too vulnerable to hacking.
Too many people don’t vote or aren’t even registered to vote. Good news is that early voting starts this October in the general election in NY. And there is always the option of absentee voting.
I grew up in the 36th District it was always a centrist ‘Democrat’ area with families. This Horror show won cause of low voter turnout and being in summer time, many are already away. I will vote for ANYONE who opposes this lunatic who wants criminals to be out in the street as son as possible and to all you homeowners and store owners in Astoria come out and vote don’t let Astoria turn into down town LA
You go girl
I think the differences in voting have at least as much to do with ethnic origin as they do with Socialist vs Centerist politics.
“Last night, only 11 percent of registered Queens Democrats voted.”
Precisely! This is why many are being led astray by the false conclusion that the majority of Democratic voters in Queens support the Socialist/Liberal agenda of Caban and AOC. They are a minority of the population who can win elections based on enthusiasm when the turnouts are relatively small. Overall, however, the vast majority of Queens residents are centrists who, sadly, are not energized to vote in elections with limited turnout.
Yes, it’s easy to find time to vote when you don’t work long hours as most other people do and progressives know this and use it to push their socialist utopia agenda with ease.
Last time I checked most CEOs were white republicans.
You know who works the jobs here no one wants? Minorites, which are usually liberals.
So there’s a grand conspiracy, by Democrats, to plan elections that Democrats can’t attend? Not the brightest crayon in the box.
I said not working long hours you say “don’t work at all.” Also I’m struggling to find any connection to the argument with your use of racial bias. Same old socialist utopia proponents stretching of the truth and changing of subjects to hate on other racial groups. Want to be a CEO – start your own company employ people and show the world how good and fair you are.
Well, to be honest, this was a democratic only voting election. No Republicans allowed.
We voted after work at our Astoria polling location — there were many young professionals in business attire voting that evening. The idea that progressives don’t work is a blatant lie. My spouse and I are both well-educated professionals with successful careers and we both voted for Caban. (And before you claim that it’s the newcomers to the neighborhood that are progressives/socialists, I’m an Astoria native, as was my mom. I’ve been here all my life.)
Do many people work before 6am? Cause that’s what the voting polls open!
So bravo to Caban for making sure her people showed up to vote in our area. They were so many around Astoria reaching out on the day of the election to IMO the youth, those with particular sounding last names and the large gay community in Western Queens.
“her people” probably telecommute, live off of trust funds, are unemployed, and/or those who work off the books. The rest of the voters had to work the day shift but needed to leave 2 hours early because the MTA sucks. By the time they got home they simply gave up. There isn’t a “revolution” just laziness and apathy. People will vote when crime rises to 1970s and 80s levels. By that time it may be too late. So keep patting her on the back for this “achievement”!
Not all Dems in the gay community voted for Cabán. Katz even got the endorsements of a few local LGBT organizations. Katz also had the endorsement of the National Organization for Women (NOW). So it wasn’t just “The Machine” who backed Katz.
You might want to look those words up