By David Brand
Borough President Melinda Katz, former Queens prosecutor and Civilian Complaint Review Board Director Mina Malik and public defender Tiffany Cabán became the first three district attorney candidates to file their petitions to appear on the June 25 primary ballot. The three candidates filed with the Board of Elections on Monday, three days ahead of yesterday’s deadline.
They are running as Democrats, along with Councilmember Rory Lancman, retired Judge Gregory Lasak, attorney Betty Lugo and former state Attorney General’s Office prosecutor Jose Nieves. Each candidate said they submitted enough signatures to qualify as a candidate. As of 11:40 a.m. Friday, counts were still underway at the Board of Elections.
In order to appear on the ballot, candidates must file at least 4,000 valid signatures from registered Democrats who live in Queens County. Petitioning began Feb. 26 and the filing deadline was yesterday. Candidates generally file far more than 4,000 signatures in case any are deemed invalid.
The filing order determines a candidate’s position on the ballot. The first candidate to file appears first on the ballot.
A prime place on the ballot does not necessarily mean success at the polls, however. Former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito was the first candidate to submit her petition with the Board of Elections ahead of the February special election for Public Advocate. Mark-Viverito finished a distant third behind then-Councilmember Jumaane Williams, who won, and Ozone Park Councilmember Eric Ulrich.
Katz’s campaign, shepherded by veteran political strategy firm Red Horse and backed by the leadership of the Queens County Democratic Party, reported Wednesday that she had filed more than 18,000 petition signatures.
“It’s clear that our message of bringing change to the DA’s office is resonating across Queens,” Katz said in a statement. “From Fort Totten to Far Rockaway, our volunteers worked hard every day to talk to thousands of voters about the race and build support for our campaign.”
Malik was the second candidate to file, according to a person familiar with the Board of Elections and the DA race. Malik reported filing 11,000 signatures.
“I am honored by this outpouring of support,” Malik said. “Our signatures filed clearly demonstrates that working families in Queens want to see real changes from a candidate with a proven progressive track record.”
Cabán was the third candidate to file a petition, according to the person familiar with the Board of Elections. Her supporters have been active on social media, sharing photos of themselves collecting signatures and encouraging community members to add their names to the petition. Cabán has earned endorsements from the New York City Democratic Socialists of America, New Queens Democrats and the Working Families Party.
Lancman filed his petition on Thursday and his campaign said the councilmember accumulated about 13,000 signatures.
Lancman, the chair of the city council’s Committee on the Justice System, has received endorsements from local leaders like State Sen. James Sanders and Councilmember Antonio Reynoso; former state Court of Appeals Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman and police reform advocates Gwen Carr and Valerie Bell, whose sons were killed by police officers.
Lasak’s campaign said Thursday that Lasak filed about 10,000 signatures with the Board of Elections. Lasak has earned endorsements from various law enforcement and court staff unions, including the Lieutenants Benevolent Association, the New York State Court Clerks Association and the New York State Supreme Court Officers Association.
Nieves also told the Eagle that he filed about 10,0000 signatures.
Lugo said she would file her signatures on Thursday as well, though she did not provide a number. Lugo has earned endorsements from Assemblymember Latrice Walker and former Assemblymember Luis Diaz.