Tiffany Cabán, the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez-backed candidate vying to become the district attorney in the New York borough of Queens, has declared victory in a race that many have hailed as a victory for progressive Democrats.
I am so incredibly proud of @CabanForQueens – and EVERY single person who showed up for this election today.
No matter how this ends, you all have stunned NY politics tonight.
When people come together, we can beat big money in elections. People power is no fluke. https://t.co/hsJx7p3REN
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 26, 2019
If confirmed after a re-count demanded by her establishment-backed candidate Melinda Katz, the 31-year-old public defender and queer Latina will have pulled off an upset some say could mark a new direction for criminal-justice reform in America.
Among her campaign promises, Cabán said she will reverse decades-old polices that have led to record levels of incarceration, including not asking for cash bail. She also would not prosecute sex workers or their customers.
Cabán is also in favor of closing down Rikers Island, the notorious prison in Queens.
.Last night, with 98% of the vote reported, Cabán held a razor-thin 1,229-vote lead over Katz, the borough president backed by the same Queens Democratic machine that Ocasio-Cortez crushed a year ago. But Katz has so far refused to concede, and claims 3,400 absentee votes still to be counted could still put her over the winning line.
“When we started this thing, they said I was too young. They said I didn’t look like a district attorney,” said Cabán, a Democratic socialist, at her raucous election-night party. “They said we could not build a movement from the grassroots. They said we could not win. But we did it, y’all.”
We have built the most powerful, the most diverse, the most beautiful coalition that a borough-wide race has ever seen. From formerly incarcerated folks to sex workers to undocumented immigrants to community-based organizations & activists to local & national elected officials.
— Tiffany Cabán (@tiffany_caban) June 26, 2019
At Cabán’s election-night party at a nightclub in Queens, chants like “Black lives matter!” and “People power!” could be heard over the festivities. Two prominent progressive prosecutors, Philadelphia’s Larry Krasner and Boston’s Rachael Rollins, joined the celebrations.
In her victory speech, Cabán acknowledged the support of Ocasio-Cortez, who tweeted about the apparent victory. “We meet a machine with a movement,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
Cabán also received endorsements from Senator Elizabeth Warren and the New York Times. Senator Bernie Sanders congratulated Cabán in a tweet. “Tiffany Cabán took on virtually the entire political establishment and built a grassroots movement,” he wrote.
“This is a victory for working people everywhere who are fighting for real political change and demanding we end cash bail, mass incarceration and the failed war on drugs.”
Outside the club, some of Cabán’s supporters from the transgender sex worker community came to celebrate her victory. TS Candii, a 26-year-old transgender sex worker, said it will be “amazing to have a DA who wont prosecute us just for wearing a little skirt and a pair of heels”.?
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