“The numbers weren’t there,” said former Queens’ district attorney candidate Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest) in Jamaica as he officially dropped out of the race on Friday days before the June 25th primary and endorsed the only other elected official in the race, Borough President Melinda Katz.
Dozens of his supporters from New Jerusalem Worship Church were at the church as he made the announcement, which came on the heels of state Sen. James Sanders (D-Ozone Park, Far Rockaway) switching his support in the Queens District Attorney’s race for Lancman to public defender Tiffany Cabán.
During the press conference Cabán sent out a press release taking a shot at Lancman for endorsing Katz by reminding the public what he previously said, “there are only two criminal justice reformers in this race — and that is me and Ms. Cabán…there are only two genuine criminal justice reformers sitting at this table” at a Black Bar Association debate.
“Tiffany and I are probably closest when it comes to philosophy, but being the district attorney is not about philosophy,” said Lancman. “You cannot be the district attorney without any meaningful support in the African-American community, no pastors, no elected officials and no institutions. You cannot be the district attorney without making an effort to reaching out to the Jewish community.”
Despite their differing philosophical stances, Lancman believes that Katz outreach to varying communities would make her the district attorney that Queens needs.
“I’m 100 percent confident that she has the experience, the relationships, the willingness to reach out to every community and most importantly the broad support of the community most affected by the criminal justice system to make those philosophical ideas a reality,” said Lancman who did not want to split the black vote in the race.
One of Cabán’s first campaign stops was in the St. Albans’ home of southeast Queens local activists Donald and Jo-Ann Whitehead in January and her entire press schedule for June 21 has her doing outreach in Jamaica.
“This is not a game,” said Katz as the primary race draws near to a close in four days. “This is not political maneuvering. This is nothing except the fact that Councilman Lancman and I are the only two candidates in this race who have to answer to the people of the borough of Queens for almost 20 years.”
Lancman still has over two years left in his role as a councilman and he is the chair of the Committee of the Justice System, which oversees all of the five-boroughwide district attorney offices in the city.
The councilman did not speak on what his political future looks like after he is term-limited out of his current role, but when asked by Queens County Politics if would accept a Chief Assistant District Attorney role if Katz won the election and were to extend him the offer, Lancman quickly said, “no, I like being my own boss.”