June 21, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan
City Council Member Rory Lancman officially dropped out of the Queens District Attorney race earlier today and threw his support behind Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.
“The numbers are simply not there for me to win this Tuesday’s Democratic Primary for District Attorney, and I owe it to the voters, and particularly my supporters, to acknowledge that fact and withdraw from the race,” Lancman said during his announcement. “I’m especially concerned about causing a split in the South Queens vote, effectively diluting the voice of the community most impacted by decisions our next DA must make.”
Lancman then endorsed Katz in the race to replace long-time DA Richard Brown who died last month, praising her history as a public official.
“She has made the effort to successfully garner support within every community in our borough,” Lancman said, additionally citing her “experience as a public official to see essential criminal justice reforms through to completion and the relationships with the civic and community organizations and institutions throughout Queens necessary to effect real change.”
Katz, who attended Lancman’s press conference, accepted the Council Member’s endorsement, agreeing that she did not want to see the vote split.
Reports of Lancman taking himself out of the race emerged Thursday evening when he did not attend a candidate forum at York College.
Lancman, who positioned himself as a progressive candidate, was the first candidate to announce his run for Queens DA in September of last year, promising to bring significant change to the office.
Lancman cited the New York Times’ endorsement of fellow candidate Tiffany Cabán as the final nail in the coffin for his campaign.
“If I had got the Times’ endorsement, I think that we would have been able to have had an impact on voters in Western Queens,” Lancman said. “I don’t think that I’m far off from being in the mix on election day, but when the Times endorsement came out, that foreclosed that opportunity to be able to compete for that slice in the electorate and so then I had to ask myself, ‘Do I have a realistic chance of winning?’”
In addition to getting the support of the New York Times, Cabán has received endorsements from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. She has also garnered support from singer John Legend and Broad City creator Ilana Glazer.
On Thursday evening, two of Lancman’s early supporters, the Rockaway Youth Action Fund and State Senator James Sanders, both switched their endorsements to Cabán.
Fellow DA candidate Greg Lasak called Lancman’s endorsement of Katz a “backroom deal” orchestrated by “the political machine.”
“This was a classic plea deal,” Lasak wrote in a campaign email to supporters. “The machine plead with one career politician to endorse another career politician, and you, the people of Queens, were left out. Neither of these political figures are qualified to be District Attorney – and we need to stop them.”
The contentious democratic primary will be held on Tuesday June 25.
The numbers are not there for me to win this election for Queens DA. I owe it to voters and my supporters to acknowledge that fact and withdraw. I’m endorsing @MelindaKatz b/c she has the ability to effect real change. My statement: pic.twitter.com/FYv61Uij6v
— (((Rory Lancman))) (@RoryLancman) June 21, 2019