That’s the strategy that Queens County Republicans are reportedly planning to employ following Tiffany Caban’s surprising victory in the Democratic Primary to replace Richard Brown as the next district attorney of Queens.
Caban edged her closest competition, Borough President Melinda Katz, by 1,090 votes.
(If Pol Position had any editorial integrity, this is where an editor’s note would go: Melinda Katz has still not conceded defeat as there are over 3,000 absentee ballots left to count, and the results of the election won’t be certified until after this issue has gone to press. Whew, that felt professional!)
With the far left-leaning Caban following in Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s footsteps and upending the party machine, conservative Democrats and Republicans alike are waking up from their Night Train Express Wine Cooler-induced hangovers to the realization that Caban is going to be the top law enforcer in the borough...provided she can win the general election, that is.
Which is where the Queens County Republican Party comes in. Technically, the GOP has a candidate in 61-year-old Daniel Kogan, an Ozone Park lawyer. But when he was reached for comment by news outlets following Caban’s supposed upset, even he admitted he didn’t plan to run much of a campaign.
In fact, he hasn’t started fundraising, hasn’t even decided if he even intends to fundraise, and admitted he might not run an “active” campaign.
In other words, he would just be a name on the ballot.
But Queens County GOP chair Joann Ariola said the party plans to run a robust campaign and was surprised by Kogan’s remarks. But everyone knows that Ariola is just a puppet chair; the active rank-and-file members of the party don’t see her as a legitimate party head, nor do they put much stock in her opinions or thoughts.
In fact, the leadership of many of the active Republican Clubs in the borough are openly rebelling against her.
So we should really pay much more attention to what Councilman Eric Ulrich, a Republican from south Queens, told the Post this week, namely that the party might turn to Katz or Greg Lasak, who came in third in the primary, to run on their party line in November.
There’s precedent for that. In 2017, Councilman Bob Holden lost in the Democratic Primary to Elizabeth Crowley, only to defeat her in the general election running on the Republican line.
In order for the GOP to get Katz or Lasak on the Republican line they would need to get Kogan off, which they could do simply by nominating him for a judgeship. Let’s hear it for good old-fashioned New York State election law loopholes!
And while turning again to the loser of the Democratic Party to run as a Republican is undeniably lame and shows just how far the party has sunk in Queens as far as influence and prestige, the tactic might actually work for either Katz or Lasak.
If social media is any indication, conservative Democrats and Republicans alike are horrified at the thought of Caban being the next district attorney.
A breakdown of election districts shows that Caban did extremely well in northwest Queens, the same voters that sent AOC to Washington. Caban won easily in about five districts, but elsewhere in the borough Katz either was neck and neck or, in many districts, won.
But in the districts where Katz did well, there was low voter turnout, meaning that while she got a large percentage of the votes, there weren’t as many of them as in the districts where Caban bested her.
For example, in the 40th District in the Flushing area, Katz received about 40 percent of the vote, with the other six candidates splitting the rest. The problem is the district had the lowest voter turnout in all of Queens with just 2,456 registered Democratic voters going to the polls.
In the 36th District, which includes Astoria and parts of Long Island City, Caban took about 75 percent of the vote. In that district, 8,181 voters cast a ballot.
In other words, if the more conservative base of the Democratic Party can be motivated to get to the polls and vote for one of their own in Republican wool, and if Republican voters terrified of Caban will vote for a Democratic Primary also-ran, there’s a good chance Katz – or even Lasak – could overcome Caban’s slim majority.
So the general election could come down to a race between the Democratic Party nominee and the Second-Place Democratic Party..uh, we mean the Republican Party...nominee.