Mayor endorses Katz in Queens DA’s race, main challenger not surprised

Mayor Eric Adams endorsed Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz in her re-election bid in the June 27 Democratic primary.
Photo courtesy of DA’s office

Mayor Eric Adams endorsed the re-election campaign of Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz on Thursday, just eight days before early voting gets underway for the June 27 Democratic primary.

The mayor noted her work making Queens safer while also addressing wrongful convictions and making the criminal justice system stronger.

“Of course I am endorsing Melinda Katz for re-election. She understands that while we can always make policing better, we still need our police, we need to work with them, and we need them to be able to do their jobs,” Adams said. “At the same time, she is working to make our system stronger, vacating wrongful convictions, helping our youth get on the right path, engaging our community, and showing up where we need her. She is a real partner in making our city safer, and I’m proud to support her for re-election.”

The mayor cited her ongoing partnership with the NYPD on numerous successful investigations, resulting in the prosecution of nearly 2,000 illegal gun cases in the last three years, record-setting gang takedowns, and the seizure of large quantities of illegal drugs from Queens neighborhoods.

“Mayor Adams knows the importance of public safety. From his childhood experience with police brutality to a career dedicated to reforming police practices while protecting and serving the people of this City, he understands the challenges we face and the need for a multi-tiered response to crime,” Katz said. “Mayor Adams is a great partner in our efforts to interrupt the drivers of violence, seize deadly weapons, and protect Queens families from harm. I am honored to receive his endorsement.”

The Adams endorsement of Katz was anticipated by her main challenger, Judge George Grasso, who retired from the bench in August with two years to go in his term so he could run for Queens district attorney.

“I find it totally unsurprising. What else was he going to do politically? See, I’m not just taking on Melinda Katz, I’m taking on the entire Queens Democratic establishment,” Grasso told Schneps Media. “She even got Chuck Schumer to jump on her bandwagon. She’s a career politician and she’s a part of the party structure, while I’m entirely independent.”

Retired Judge George Grasso, Katz’ main challenger in the upcoming Democratic primary, said the Adams endorsement was unsurprising considering party politics in Queens. Photo by Adrian Childress

Grasso went on to say that he has known the mayor for years, during his three decades serving in the NYPD before he joined the judiciary.

“I think he would probably tell you that he would love to see me as district attorney, but he’s going to be up for re-election himself in two years and if he were to back me he’d have the entire Queens party mad at him,” Grasso said. “He’s a Democrat and she’s backed by the entire Queens organization so for him to turn around and endorse me would be to break with his own party in a major borough. So, it’s not surprising to me at all in that context.”

He said it is precisely why when he filed 20,000 signatures at the Board of Elections on May 23 to appear on the primary ballot, he also filed an additional 10,000 signatures from Queens Democrats to appear on his own “Public Safety” party line in the General Election ballot in November — more than double the number that is needed.

“The Public Safety line directly confronts the notion that the District Attorney should be a partisan position,” Grasso said. “The District Attorney’s job is that of the chief law enforcement officer of the county. No matter what party Queens voters identify with, they all deserve to be safe. Despite my opponent’s apparent frustration over my broad bi-partisan support, I will continue to speak to all Queens voters, because public safety is a right, not a privilege.”

Devian Daniels, a public defender from Jamaica, is also running for Queens District Attorney in the June 27 Democratic primary.