Richard Brown's decision not to seek re-election as Queens district attorney isn't likely to trigger a flood of new candidates in the race. That's because it came as little surprise.
"I think everybody understood that Judge Brown was not going to be running for re-election," Rory Lancman.
Lancman, a Queens city councilman, was the first to jump in, last September. The longtime lawmaker is running on an aggressive platform of reform, including protecting victims of police misconduct. He's drawn a clear contrast with Brown's approach.
"His vision for criminal justice in the last few years has not been in step with the kind of reform that we need," Lancman said.
(Queens City Councilman Rory Lancman announced his campaign for Queens DA back in September. He says the next district attorney needs to be someone who will overhaul prosecutorial practices detrimental to New Yorkers).
Borough President Melinda Katz is a familiar face to voters, having now twice won a borough-wide election. She, too, is campaigning on the promise of sweeping criminal justice reforms, and she says Brown's announcement means Queens is entering a new era.
"It allows for a greater change in the viewpoints of the district attorney's office," Katz said. "The national movement has not been so vocal here in the borough of Queens by the DA's office."
(Queens Borough President Melinda Katz has already twice won a borough-wide election).
A third candidate, longtime judge and former prosecutor Greg Lasak, also a Democrat, launched his campaign in October, highlighting his work in the Queens DA's office reversing wrongful convictions.
Whether or not any others join in, the race is already the most competitive in decades. Brown won seven elections virtually unopposed.
Those now seeking to replace him did make a point Wednesday of thanking him for his decades of service.
"He's had a long and distinguished career," Lancman said. "Now, the people of Queens have to decide what they want criminal justice to look like in Queens, potentially for the next quarter-century."
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