RESULTS: Queens district attorney race too close to call between Cabán and Katz

DA collage
QNS File Photos

Just 1,200 votes separates public defender Tiffany Cabán and Borough President Melinda Katz in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for Queens district attorney.

With nearly all of the scanners counted, Cabán clung to a narrow lead as of 11 p.m. Tuesday night. While Cabán declared victory in front of her supporters, Katz declined to concede, telling supporters at her party that she would wait until all the votes are counted.

NY1 reported that there are about 3,400 paper ballots, including absentee and affidavit ballots, to be counted.

Seven candidates seeking to succeed the late Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown were on the ballot in the first meaningful race for this office in nearly three decades. The primary winner moves on to the November general election and will be the prohibitive favorite to win in this heavily-Democratic borough.

The candidates included Queens Borough President Melinda Katz; public defender Tiffany Cabán; retired Judge Gregory Lasak; former Civilian Complaint Review Board Chair Mina Malik; and attorneys Betty Lugo and Jose Nieves. City Councilman Rory Lancman was on the ballot even though he formally dropped out of the race on June 21 and endorsed Katz.

The primary election held today was marred by low turnout early, according to reports from QNS reporters who visited polling stations this morning. The weather improved during the afternoon around Queens, and that may have increased participation in the waning hours of the election.

9:05 p.m.

The ballot counting has begun! Just seconds after the polls closed, Melinda Katz has jumped out to a very early lead with 122 votes, followed by Tiffany Cabán in second with 76 and Gregory Lasak in third with 50 votes. Most of the votes have been counted out of the 23rd Assembly District in southwest Queens and The Rockaways. More to come…

9:10 p.m.

A little less than 7 percent of the votes have been counted, and Katz so far continues to lead with 962 votes, followed by Cabán with 613 and Lasak with 400. So far, just 2,138 votes have been tallied in the unofficial Board of Elections count. Still a long way to go…

9:12 p.m.

Rory Lancman, who dropped out of the race on Friday and endorsed Melinda Katz, still has more votes (39) than two others on the ballot: Jose Nieves (32) and Betty Lugo (27).

9:15 p.m.

There was a major surge in the vote count, and that led to a lead change. With 25% of the scanners reporting, Cabán is now in the lead with 5,888 votes. Katz is second with 5,579, followed by Lasak with 2,464. The 37th Assembly District in the northwestern area of the borough came in big for Cabán thus far. In the 37th AD, with nearly of the votes counted, Caban has nearly four times the votes (2,139) than Katz (474).

9:18 p.m.

In the latter stages of this campaign, many speculated that Cabán and Katz were the two frontrunners, and so far, the vote count is reflecting that. With 47% of the machines counted, Cabán still leads Katz, with the public defender having 11,777 votes to Katz’s 11,614. It’s a nailbiter thus far, and far from over! But the turnout is insanely low, with a total of 31,215 ballots cast thus far.

9:25 p.m.

Just over 60% of the vote has been counted, and Cabán’s lead has grown to a little less than 1,000. Cabán has 19,541 to Katz’s 18,446. Lasak’s a distant third with 7,883, followed by Malik with 1,795, Lancman with 697, Nieves with 660 and Lugo with 595.

9:25 p.m.

The turnout throughout the race was weak, but the biggest turnout seems to be in northwestern Queens. Cabán has more than 7,000 votes from the 36th and 37th Assembly Districts alone. Meanwhile, Katz currently has a large number of her votes from the 32nd District in southeast Queens.

9:30 p.m.

Another flash from the Board of Elections’ unofficial results page reveals a tighter race. With 72% of the scanners reported, Cabán has 23,947 votes while Katz has 23,214. The margin is 733. Very close indeed…

9:33 p.m.

And the race is tighter still. With 75.45% reporting, Cabán’s lead is down to less than 600. The public defender has 25,590, while Katz has 25,012. That’s a 578 gap between the pair. By Assembly District, Cabán’s strongest performance is coming from the northwest, while Katz’s doing best in the southeast. One surprising note… so far, Katz has a slim lead over Cabán in the 28th Assembly District — which includes Katz’s home neighborhood of Forest Hills.

9:40 p.m.

The race between Katz and Cabán is tightening with every update in the count. With 78.81% of the machines counted, Cabán has 26,784 and Katz has 26,301. The margin is now 483. Clearly, it’s down to Cabán and Katz.

9:45 p.m. 

There’s a little bump for Cabán in the latest Board of Elections update. Now with about 81% of the machines counted, Cabán’s lead over Katz is up to 553, with Cabán at 27,554 and Katz at 26,991. Lasak is a well-beaten third with 10,583 votes; the others are not a factor.

9:54 p.m.

There are 18 Assembly districts in Queens, and while Katz has the lead in the majority of them, it’s Cabán who’s still leading the total vote count. With 82.82% of the machines counted, Cabán has 28,277 and Katz has 27,684. The margin is now 593 in Cabán’s favor. According to the latest tally, Katz has the most votes in the 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 31st, 32nd, 33rd, 35th and 40th Districts, while Cabán leads in the 30th, 34th, 36th, 37th, 38th, and 39th.

10:02 p.m.

Cabán’s lead has steadied a bit. With just about 85% of the machines counted, she’s up to 28,759 to Katz’s 28,231. The gap is now 528.

10:08 p.m.

The latest flash from the Board of Elections unofficial tally has another slight increase for Cabán. She’s now at 29,365, while Katz remains in second at 28,571, accounting for a 794 margin between the two frontrunners.

With the counting winding down, this is a good time to remind you that QNS will have reports from the Cabán, Katz and Lasak camps later on. Stay tuned!

10:15 p.m.

As the total vote count approaches 90% of all machines, the finish line appears in sight for Cabán. Her vote total is up to 29,940 while Katz is at 29,072, giving the public defender an 868-vote lead over the borough president. Most of the votes have been counted in the southeast Queens districts (31st, 32nd and 33rd Districts), where Katz was expected to do well and is leading; about 90% of the scanners have been counted in those districts. However, there are more votes to be counted in the 36th and 37th Districts, where Cabán was expected to perform strongest and is running up the score. Between 79% and 84% of the vote has been counted in those two northwest Queens districts.

10:20 p.m.

The lead for Cabán is nearly 1,000 votes with 88.63% of the votes counted. Cabán has 30,256 votes while Katz has 29,272. The total vote count, among all seven candidates on the ballot and write-ins, stands at 76,767.

10:23 p.m.

Cabán’s lead now exceeds 1,000 with 90.31% of the scanners counted. The public defender has 31,105 while Katz has 29,975. No calls as of yet…

10:30 p.m.

The latest flash from the Board of Elections dropped Cabán’s lead to under 1,000 again. With 91.21% of the vote tallied, she stands at 31,224, while Katz has 30,691. The lead’s now 533.

And with another flash, Cabán’s lead grows again… just after the latest post, her vote total jumped to 31,442, while Katz has 30,781, bringing the margin up to 661.

10:40 p.m.

The lead for Cabán is steady at over 600. With 93.41% of the vote in, she leads Katz, 32,036 to 31,397.

10:45 p.m.

As the total votes counted reaches nearly 95%, Cabán continues to solidify her lead over Katz, with 32,406 to 31,675. Approximately 731 votes separate the two candidates.

10:50 p.m.

The clock approaches 11 p.m., and it seems Tiffany Cabán is getting closer to victory. With 96% of the machines counted, Cabán’s lead over Melinda Katz is back over 1,000. Cabán has 33,256 to Katz’s 32,055. We have reporters at both camps and will bring you reports as soon as they’re available.

10:55 p.m.

Nearly all of the votes have been counted. With 96.64% of the machines tallied, Cabán has 33,430 while Katz has 32,202.

11:05 p.m.

As the latest flash from the Board of Elections shows that Cabán’s lead is up to 1,200 votes, multiple sources reported that Katz told supporters moments ago that she will wait until all the votes are counted. QNS reporter Jenna Bagcal stated that the crowd during Katz’s speech chanted “Count the votes!”

For now, Cabán appears to be on her way to an apparent victory with 33,681 votes to Katz’s 32,475. The margin is now 1,206 votes with 98.06% of the scanners counted. There are a number of absentee ballots that have yet to be counted, and it could take the Board of Elections up to a week to do that.

So, for now, the race remains too close to call between Tiffany Cabán and Melinda Katz. Stay tuned to QNS for further updates.