Former Assistant District Attorney Jim Quinn officially dropped out of the race for Queens borough president on Friday, after legal challenges to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order cancelling the special election fell flat.
“While I strongly disagree and believe this decision disenfranchised Queens voters who have a right to an elected borough president before January 2021, at this point further legal action would be futile and we must accept the judge’s ruling,” Quinn said in a statement. “While we may not have won this battle, I am enormously proud of the campaign we ran and the critical public safety issues we advanced.”
As the COVID-19 crisis ravaged New York, Cuomo canceled the June 23 special election for Queens borough president, which was originally scheduled for March 24, after Melinda Katz’s election to Queens District Attorney left the seat vacant.
Both Quinn and fellow Queens borough president candidate Dao Yin filed legal challenges to the cancelation of the special election. When the executive order was upheld, Quinn and Yin filed separate appeals, but the decision was not overturned.
“The courts have allowed Governor Cuomo to cancel this election and help his cronies under the guise of an artificial emergency, thus leaving the residents of Queens without an elected borough president for the entire year,” said Aaron Foldenauer, the attorney representing Dao Yin.
Yin and his attorney have argued that the governor’s order, which Cuomo said was made out of concern for public safety, sets a dangerous precedent for the upcoming November elections.
“Now, because of the coronavirus, this decision gives President Trump the legal ammunition he needs to cancel the November 2020 Presidential election,” Foldenauer said.
According to Foldenauer, the cancelation of the special election is unprecedented and in violation of both the U.S. Constitution and the New York State Constitution. Despite making the argument in court, Foldenauer says the court did not address these arguments in its decision.
Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee will continue to serve as the borough’s executive until January 2021. A Democratic primary for borough president will be held on June 23, and the winner will face off against Chairwoman of the Queens County Republican Party Joann Ariola in November.
City Councilman Donovan Richards and Costa Constantinides, former Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, retired NYPD Sergeant Anthony Miranda and Yin will all appear on the Democratic primary ballot in June.
In Quinn’s absence, Yin said he plans to campaign on the law-and-order platform Quinn espoused during his run.
“Jim Quinn had a message focusing on public safety that deserved to be heard,” Yin said. “Now that Jim Quinn is out of the race, I will proudly carry on his message and ensure that we work hard to keep the residents of Queens safe and healthy.”