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Recount ends in narrow prosecutor’s race; rivalry persists

July 25, 2019
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FILE- In this June 26, 2019 file photo, Democratic primary candidate for Queens district attorney, Tiffany Caban, responds to questions during an interview in the Queens borough of New York. The manual recount of more than 90,000 votes ended Thursday, July 25, 2019, exactly one month after the June 25 primary. Although her opponent, Melinda Katz has already declared victory, Caban says her campaign plans to fight her defeat in court. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)
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FILE- In this June 26, 2019 file photo, Democratic primary candidate for Queens district attorney, Tiffany Caban, responds to questions during an interview in the Queens borough of New York. The manual recount of more than 90,000 votes ended Thursday, July 25, 2019, exactly one month after the June 25 primary. Although her opponent, Melinda Katz has already declared victory, Caban says her campaign plans to fight her defeat in court. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Queens Borough President Melinda Katz declared victory over public defender Tiffany Cabán in the race for the Democratic nomination for Queens district attorney after a recount in the roller-caster race concluded Thursday, but Cabán vowed to keep fighting in court.

The manual recount of more than 90,000 votes in New York City ended exactly one month after the June 25 primary in the race to succeed longtime district attorney Richard Brown, who died in May.

“Now that every valid vote has been counted and recounted, the results confirm once again that the people of Queens have chosen Melinda Katz as the Democratic nominee for district attorney,” the Katz campaign said in a statement.

But Cabán said her campaign “will be in court to make sure the people of Queens are not disenfranchised.”

The New York City Board of Elections did not announce the results of the recount on Thursday but is expected to certify the results within days.

The contest attracted national attention unusual for a local prosecutor’s race, with presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders endorsing Cabán, a 31-year-old first-time candidate who vowed to prosecute and incarcerate far fewer people.

The 53-year-old Katz, a veteran politician who served as a member of the New York state Assembly and the New York City Council, was the choice of moderate Democrats, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Four other candidate trailed Katz and Cabán in the primary; a seventh had dropped out before the election.

Cabán appeared to have pulled off a stunning upset with a lead of 1,090 votes on election night, but Katz pulled ahead by 16 votes after absentee and affidavit ballots were counted. The hair’s-breadth margin triggered an automatic recount.

Cabán’s campaign said “only dozens” of votes separated the two candidates after the recount and said it would press on with its legal challenge seeking to restore hundreds of ballots invalidated by the Board of Elections.

“These ballots include Cabán votes were that inappropriately thrown out by the Board of Elections during the manual recount, as well as ballots that have been improperly discounted due to BOE errors and arcane technicalities that can be open to legal review,” the campaign said in a statement.

The campaigns are due in court on Aug. 6.

The eventual winner of the primary will be strongly favored to win the general election in November.

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