NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The national fight between the far left-wing and more moderate parts of the Democratic Party played out again Tuesday in Queens, where primary voters selected a new Queens district attorney.
Tiffany Caban, a 31-year-old public defender who says the criminal justice system is rigged against the poor, is reportedly ahead by a razor-thin margin over Queens Borough President Melinda Katz in a race that is still too close to call after polls closed Tuesday night.
With nearly all precincts reporting, the New York City Board of Elections projected that Caban was leading with 39.57 percent of the vote Wednesday morning. Katz currently has 38.3 percent.
Board Of Elections In The City Of New York 2019 Primary
(Unofficial Election Night Results as of 2019-06-26 00:37 ET)
- 33,814 votees (39.57%) … Tiffany Caban
- 32,724 votes (38.30%) … Melinda Katz
- 12,377 (14.49%) … Gregory L. Lasak
- 3,310 (3.87%) … Mina Quinto Malik
- 1,168 (1.37%) … Rory I. Lancman
- 1,075 (1.26%) … Jose L. Nieves
- 921 (1.08%) … Betty Lugo
- 58 (0.07%) … Write-In
Caban repeatedly declared victory in a late night speech at her campaign headquarters while Katz told her supporters she was already looking ahead to a re-count in the tight election.
If the lead holds and Caban is officially named the winner, it would be the latest shocking upset in New York politics, coming just months after the sudden rise of controversial progressive Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Caban has been endorsed by two presidential contenders, Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, as well as Ocasio-Cortez herself.
Katz has the backing of state and county party leaders like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as well as a host of unions. Katz, a veteran politician, also served in the state Assembly from 1994 to 1999 and on the New York City Council from 2002 to 2009.
Other candidates who are polling further down on the ballot include former judge and Queens Assistant District Attorney Gregory Lasak, former District of Columbia Deputy Attorney General Mina Malik, former Nassau County Assistant District Attorney Betty Lugo, and former New York Deputy Attorney General Jose Nieves.
The candidates had largely all embraced criminal justice reforms like reducing marijuana prosecutions.
The winner moves on to the November general election against the Republican challenger and the final race to succeed longtime District Attorney Richard Brown. He died last month at age 86.
If successful in November, Caban or Katz would be the first woman to serve as Queens district attorney.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)