Melinda Katz is officially the Democratic nominee for Queens District attorney after Tiffany Caban formally conceded the race, ending more than six weeks of suspense, court battles and manual recount drama that exposed a wide division in the local Democratic Party.

On one side: upstart progressives. On the other: the establishment led by moderate Democrats.

“The rhetoric is done, the campaign is done, it’s now time to real work that needs to happen here in the borough of Queens," Katz said Wednesday standing on the steps of City Hall.

Caban came within 55 votes of victory. She campaigned on a promise to radically reform the criminal justice system, including ending cash bail and decriminalizing sex work. At her concession speech she took credit for pushing the other candidates to the left.

Despite falling behind on primary night, Katz eventually pulled ahead — helped by an advantage in absentee ballots usually cast by older voters, who saw Caban's policies as too soft on crime.
Katz maintains she is also focused on reforming the office, which has had little change over the last few decades.

“I have a job of to do for the people of Queens. We will make sure that there is justice and equity in this borough," Katz said. "We do the right things for our folks right here and that includes changing the office from the top down.”

A Caban upset would have solidified a trend first started by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's upset victory last year.

But a borough-wide race proved difficult and in this battle between the old and the new, the old guard prevailed.

Caban began the race an unknown and although she picked up a number of endorsements and support from groups like the Working Families Party, it wasn't enough.

State Senator Michael Gianaris, who endorsed Caban, said the party has lessons to learn.

“The fact that Tiffany came within a hair’s breadth of winning this election, when nobody thought that would have been possible a few months ago, tells you that is an ascendant part of this party and the Democratic Party ignores that force at its own peril,” Gianaris said.

Katz said she has no intention of stepping down as borough president before she wins the general election in November.