How Cabán made fools of us all

Caban webcover
Caban webcover
Photo illustration by Alex Law

How Cabán made fools of us all

July 1, 2019

Two weeks ago, City & State ran a story about Queens Borough President Melinda Katz’s candidacy for district attorney, with this cover headline: “Katz in the bag: Face it, the Queens DA race is over.”

In fact, the race was far from over. The next day, Tiffany Cabán, a young public defender, was endorsed by The New York Times. Then, presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren got behind the 31-year-old progressive. That same week, political observers cautioned against anointing a front-runner, while one expert told us it “would be arrogant to ignore the newly energized electorate making their voice heard throughout Queens for Tiffany Cabán.” And Cabán kept picking up the pace in fundraising while deploying energetic campaign volunteers across the borough.

It all appears to have paid off. While Katz refused to concede, pointing to the 1,090-vote margin and several thousand absentee ballots yet to be counted, Cabán declared victory on Tuesday night. The race officially isn’t over, but Cabán is likely to emerge as the victor. (After our own embarrassing version of the famous “Dewey defeats Truman” cover, we’re being a bit more cautious in our predictions.)

In this week’s magazine, we take a closer look at the factors that propelled Cabán to the verge of an upset while assessing the Queens establishment’s failure to deliver for Katz.

Jon Lentz
is City & State’s former editor-in-chief.