Lancman officially drops out of Queens DA race and backs Melinda Katz

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Photos by Mark Hallum/QNS

And then there were six.

With four days until Queens Democratic voters go to polls to choose a new District Attorney, Councilman Rory Lancman announced Friday he would drop out of the running.

At the New Jerusalem Worship Center in Rochdale, Lancman stood beside black leaders and Borough President Melinda Katz and withdrew his candidacy.

Lancman is now backing Katz.

According to Lancman, the numbers were not on his side and he believed the next DA should be someone who has answered to the public. Melinda Katz fits this description, he said, claiming that her over 25 years as an elected official qualifies her for DA.

Earlier in the race in May, Lancman had told audiences at a forum that the office needed a more radical reformer.

“There are only two criminal justice reformers in this race — and that is me and Ms. Cabán,” Lancman had said. “There are only two genuine criminal justice reformers sitting at this table.”

Lancman said he chose to back Katz, a candidate he has criticized, over Cabán because he claims Cabán has not levied enough support from the Jewish and black communities.

“Tiffany and I are probably closest when it comes to philosophy. But being district attorney is not philosophy,” Lancman said. “You cannot be the district attorney without having any meaningful rapport in the African American community. No pastors, no elected officials. You cannot be the district attorney without even making effort to reach out to the Jewish community.”

Lancman denied that there was any sort of “establishment” deal that forced the decision for him to back Katz in the race.

His campaign has raised over $1 million, however, and he will still be on the ballot.

The primary will take place on June 25. Katz, Cabán, Gregory Lasak, Jose Nieves, Betty Lugo and Mina Malik are all on the ballot as well.

This is a developing story and will be updated.