Things That Matter

Queer Latina Tiffany Cabán Makes History In Queens With New York District Attorney Primary Win

Tiffany Cabán, a queer Latina public defender, declared victory Tuesday night in a tight Democratic primary race for Queens district attorney.

“When we started this thing they said I was too young. They said I didn’t look like a district attorney,” Cabán, 31, said at her election-night party at a nightclub in Woodside, Queens. “They said we could not win, but we did, it y’all.”

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Cabán has currently received 39.6 percent of the vote, while the establishment’s favorite Melinda Katz garnered 38.3 percent. There are still 3,400 absentee ballots that need to be counted, which the Board of Elections said won’t be completed until next Wednesday.

Katz, who was endorsed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and former Queens Democratic Party chief Joe Crowley, who was ousted by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) around this time last year, has refused to concede. She has also already made calls for a recount.

This has not stopped Cabán and her supporters from celebrating a victory.

“We’ve already won without knowing what the final tabulation is,” Maurice Mitchell, the national director of the Working Families Party, which backed Cabán, said. “We’ve already won. We’ve beaten the machine.”

Cabán, a democratic socialist, ran on a platform of “people-powered justice,” which included ending cash bail, not prosecuting subway turnstile jumping, prosecuting the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, closing Rikers Island and decriminalizing sex work.

“I am a 31-year-old, queer Latina public defender whose parents grew up in the Woodside Housing projects,” she said during her Tuesday night speech. “And I decided to run. I ran because for too long, too many communities in Queens hadn’t had a fair shot in our criminal-justice system.”

The Puerto Rican public defender received endorsements from progressive leaders like Ocasio-Cortez, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Most recently, the New York Times also backed the candidate.

“She is of Puerto Rican descent and is the first in her family to graduate from college. She would bring a perspective suited to one of the world’s most diverse communities, one where elected officials have rarely reflected that reality,” the publication said in its endorsement of Cabán.

Cabán’s likely six-person primary win would have her succeed the deceased Queens District Attorney Richard Brown and shift the borough’s, city’s and country’s tough-on-crime, prosecutorial approach in the DAs office.

Read: In New York, Queer Latina Tiffany Cabán Wants To Bring ‘Genuine Justice’ To The Queens District Attorney’s Office

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