A day after Mayor Bill de Blasio declared the official date for the Borough President’s special election to be March 24, a new, law-and-order challenger announced a last minute bid for the office: former Assistant District Attorney James Quinn.
Though Quinn, a lifelong Queens resident, is reportedly a registered Democrat like the other five declared candidates, both his background and political platform described in the political flyer that was distributed to QNS on Friday makes him stand out among the rest of the field.
“Elect a crime fighter,” reads the first page of his campaign pamphlet.
Quinn served as ADA in the Queens County DA’s Office for 42 years. His platform promises to fight against many of the recent criminal justice reforms that city and state legislators have championed over the past year.
In the campaign materials, he vows to stop the closing of Rikers Island, to stop Mayor de Blasio from building jails in Kew Gardens or anywhere in Queens, and to push back on the bail reform by allowing judges to consider a defendant’s “danger to society” when setting bail.
The platform contains one economic policy idea about working “with businesses like Amazon to bring high paying jobs and careers to Queens.”
Though Quinn may not have widespread political recognition in the borough, over the past couple months he’s come out as an outspoken critic of the bail reform legislation that took effect Jan. 1. His name made the rounds in November at the top of a document he prepared that provided an exhaustive list of the crimes that fall under the new law. He recently joined with Councilman Robert Holden to present in a forum designed to inform Kew Gardens residents about the impact of this legislation, where he argued that it would drive up crime rates.
In a race where candidates have been largely talking about policies that emphasize racial and economic justice, Quinn’s platform is a marked turn toward the idea of constituents’ safety. The pamphlet argues he “knows how to protect you and your families.”
In the Queens DA’s Office, his roles included Executive Assistant District Attorney, chief of the Narcotic Investigations Bureau, deputy chief of homicide and criminal trial assistant. He’s tried over 30 murder cases and prosecuted hundreds of “career criminals.”
Quinn lives in Richmond Hill with his wife Susan. He was raised in the Ravenswood Housing Projects and attended public schools in the Astoria and Long Island City area before earning a Bachelor’s from Columbia University and a law degree from Fordham.
He will have until Jan. 13 to collect the 2,000 valid signatures required to get on the ballot.