Alvin Bragg, a former federal prosecutor and lifelong Harlem resident, is poised to be Manhattan’s next district attorney after his closest opponent in the race for the Democratic nomination, Tali Farhadian Weinstein, conceded Friday.
The race was destined to produce a historic result: Bragg, who is heavily favored to win the November general election in deep-blue Manhattan, would be the first Black person to hold the office; Farhadian Weinstein would have been its first woman.
“This has been a long journey that started in Harlem,” Bragg said in a statement. “And today, that 15-year old boy who was stopped numerous times at gunpoint by the police is the Democratic nominee to be Manhattan District Attorney.”
Bragg emerged with a slim lead over Farhadian Weinstein — 3.43%, or about 7,500 votes — on the evening of the primary, though a large number of outstanding Democratic absentee ballots — about 39,000 — left the final result in doubt. The race, which featured six other candidates, did not use ranked-choice voting because it is a state position.
In a statement, Farhadian Weinstein said that during the ongoing count of those absentee ballots “it has become clear that we cannot overcome the vote margin.”
“I remain immensely proud of what we accomplished over this past year,” her statement read. “From start to finish, we insisted that safety is the precondition of opportunity and a good life, and that our recovery from this brutal year depends on it.”
Bragg was buoyed in his victory by strong support in Harlem and the Upper West Side, as well as by an endorsement from the New York Times and a late surge in outside spending from Color of Change PAC, a national progressive group.
It was enough to beat Farhadian Weinstein, who donated $8.2 million to her own campaign, including a single donation that totaled more than all of Bragg’s $2.3 million in fundraising. Farhadian Weinstein faced strong scrutiny in the final days of the race over accusations that she was trying to buy the race with extensive TV ads and controversial mailers, as well as for paying virtually nothing in federal income taxes in several recent years.
During the campaign, Farhadian Weinstein embraced a focus on public safety and received criticism in debates for drifting away from progressive ideas, crystallized by a deleted section of her website titled “Fairness from the Start,” which described her plan to reduce both convictions for low-level offenses as well as the number of people held in pre-trial detention.
Bragg staked out a comfortable middle ground, insisting on numerous progressive policies, such as establishing a Police Integrity Unit and creating an executive position in the office for a former public defender, while underscoring his own focus on public safety.
“We are going to demand and deliver on both safety and fairness,” Bragg said last week to his supporters at the primary night gathering, at the Cecil Steakhouse in Harlem. “Everyone in this room knows they are inextricably interwoven, opposite sides of the same coin. We’ve been demanding both, we’ve been talking about both and we will deliver both.”
Bragg has worked as both a federal and state prosecutor, leading hundreds of cases against white collar criminals, gun runners and police officers, focusing on misconduct.
If he wins in November, Bragg will face a host of ongoing high-profile cases, including a massive criminal investigation into the Trump Organization, the real estate business of former President Donald Trump. On Thursday, the DA’s office unveiled a 15-count indictment of the business, including tax evasion charges for a top executive, Allen Weisselberg. The Trump Organization and Weisselberg have pleaded not guilty.
Bragg has acknowledged the importance of the Trump case, but told the New York Times Friday that he is also focused on other elements of law enforcement.
“We’re also talking about the gun-trafficking issues, the scope of the entire system and the collateral consequences,” he told the newspaper. “It’s all a profound responsibility.”