One candidate on Roosevelt Avenue asks another, “How do you get to Queens Criminal Court?” Cabán answers: “Practice!” But it took a lot more than experience as a public defender for Cabán to pull off the upset of the year, including a serious ground game and an army of impassioned Democratic Socialist volunteers. Cabán’s likely to be the next Queens district attorney, and the political aftershocks are going to be a lot bigger than the rumble that hit Long Island City on Election Night.
This week’s biggest Winners & Losers
This week’s biggest Winners & Losers
There are winners, and there are losers. And sometimes there are people we’re absolutely certain will be winners … until they’re not. Until two weeks ago, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz couldn’t have been more of a lock for county DA. But then the nation’s progressive superstars made Queens an ideological battleground for the soul of the Democratic Party. Katz didn’t stand a chance.
For some unambiguous Winners & Losers, read on …
Tish James, for the people, so went the state attorney general’s campaign slogan. And Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling, effectively barring a citizenship question on the 2020 census, proved that James meant all people, including immigrants without legal status, who should now be able to stand up and be counted without fear. James, and her solicitor general and predecessor Barbara Underwood, get the credit for convincing the court that the commerce secretary, New Yorker Wilbur Ross, was bullshitting.
With all the national attention zeroing in on Tiffany Cabán, it’s easy to miss the other other Latina progressive insurgent in Queens. The candidate for Queens Civil Court judgeship followed in AOC’s historic, broken-soled campaign shoes, delivering a wallop to the Queens machine in her sizeable victory over party pick Wyatt Gibbons in Tuesday’s primary – all without an 11th-hour assist from Bernie Sanders.
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano finagled himself a longer time span, after the city rewrote the law to let him serve a third term – as long as he beats former City Council candidate Mario De Giorgio in November’s general election. Apparently Yonkers Democrats don’t seem to mind having a dictator for life, with Spano raking in a whopping 75% of the vote on Tuesday night against newcomers Karen Beltran and Ivy Reeves.
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer will be looking to cash in his chips after placing a winning bet on Tiffany Cabán in the Queens DA race this week. Stringer was the one citywide office holder to back the progressive insurgent – and as the only 2021 mayoral candidate to back her, he’ll be counting on her to return the favor. Stringer seems to be on a hot streak with his endorsements, after backing Jessica Ramos and Catalina Cruz’s successful state Senate and assembly runs last year. Or maybe the numbers man just picked up on a pattern: Never gamble against a young, progressive Latina.
Female reporters in particular weren’t sad to see Robert Freeman fired this week for sexual misconduct. The longtime head of the state Committee on Open Government knew more about government records and FOIL requests than just about anybody in Albany, making him a valuable resource for the Capitol press corps. But investigators from the state Inspector General's Office say examples abound of unwelcome behavior that were familiar to just about any female reporter that came near him. Consider this creep foiled.
“Face it, the Queens DA race is over,” City & State proclaimed on our June 17 cover. “Katz in the bag.” Now, some people would shame City & State Editor-in-Chief Jon Lentz for the pun alone, but jumping the gun was pretty regrettable in retrospect as well, given that the race was not over and Katz did not have it in the bag. It seems Melinda Katz will remain your Queens BP ... and we hear Sports Illustrated is looking for advice picking covers.
If Rep. Greg Meeks was hoping to prove his leadership chops as the new head of the Queens Democratic Party, he definitely came up short during the primaries. In the big race of the night, county-backed Melinda Katz most likely lost, even after New York City Councilman Rory Lancman dropped out in an obvious attempt to help her win. Effectively calling Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren racists for endorsing Cabán didn’t score him many points, either. And in a smaller – but still consequential – election, Meeks’ pick in a judicial race lost to a recent progressive transplant from the Bronx. So much for being the boss.
Alleged serial wife beater and Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse has to find a new outlet to outrage the citizenry now that he has lost the Democratic primary to challenger Bill Keeler. As if decades of alleged violence against women weren’t enough, prosecutors hope to prove at a federal trial next month that campaign funds bought Morse more than his fair share of trips and home repairs. The real wonder is how Keeler only won by 100 votes, give or take.
It feels like the first time in forever that we’ve had an election that Jumaane Williams wasn’t running in. And even though the New York City public advocate didn’t lose a race in this week’s primary, he certainly didn’t back any winners. The self-professed progressive stayed mostly mum on Queens’ new progressive darling Tiffany Cabán, and his preferred candidate to replace him in the City Council, Monique Chandler-Waterman, also lost – again – after she accused incumbent Farah Louis without evidence of making a backhanded deal with Trump supporters and landlords. Hopefully Williams gets better at picking who to advocate for.