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Queens DA Katz warns supporters that Grasso will run as third-party candidate in November

Jul. 4, 2023 By Bill Parry

Despite her landslide victory in the June 27 Democratic primary, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz is reminding her supporters that there is still work to be done in her re-election bid.

Katz acknowledged that retired Judge George Grasso, who had a disappointing second-place finish in the primary, will continue to challenge her campaign into the fall.

“My Democratic primary opponent wants to run again in the general election on a third party line, hoping that far-right Trump voters will sustain him,” Katz wrote to her supporters. “Honestly, I look forward to facing him again. And call it a woman’s intuition, but I think he is going to lose again.”

Grasso congratulated Katz on her primary victory while calling her out for avoiding several candidate forums in the days and weeks preceding the Democratic primary.

“The incumbent refused to be involved in even one public debate. She routinely avoided crucial forums,” Grasso said in a post-primary statement. “She spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in conjunction with the Queens machine. The institutional advantages of my opponent were numerous.”

Judge Greasso told his supporters he will step away from the campaign trail until Labor Day, preparing for November’s general election.Photo by Anthony Medina

Grasso added that low voter turnout negatively contributed to his distant second-place showing in which he just edged out public defender Devian Daniels.

“Apathy was certainly at play. The vote total was anemic. Less than 8% of Queens Democrats came out to vote,” Grasso said. “The good news is I remain in this race. The issues are the same. There have been unacceptable increases in major felony index crimes during the tenure of the incumbent DA.”

Katz reiterated the theme of her victory speech that she delivered with Governor Kathy Hochul and Congressman Gregory Meeks, the chairman of the Queens County Democratic Party, by her side.

“This election was really a choice of results vs. rhetoric, substance vs. soundbites, mature competence vs. simplistic slogans,” Katz continued in her message to supporters. “I’m proud to lead a District Attorney’s office that took thousands of illegal guns off the streets and protected the wrongly accused through a new Conviction Integrity Unit. We built new bureaus and programs to fight domestic violence, human trafficking, and wage theft. We built a degree of direct engagement with Queens’ many diverse communities that is unparalleled in the history of this office.”

Grasso served in the NYPD for nearly three decades rising through the ranks from a beat cop in the 113th Precinct to first deputy commissioner before he stepped down to accept a judicial appointment. He retired from the bench in August with two years remaining on his term to run for district attorney.

“I am happy to say this race continues. We fought for the public safety line on the general election ballot in November,” Grasso said. “As I have said from the beginning, public safety is not an ideological issue or a privilege. It is a right.”

He added that his campaign would target all of the registered voters in Queens.

“We will continue to appeal to Democratic voters. And now we will directly be reaching out to Republicans and Independent voters as we prepare for November,” Grasso said. “Having said that, this is a good time to take a pause from politics, spend quality time with family and friends and refocus after Labor Day.”

Katz will be waiting.

“Thank you to Queens Democrats for voting to continue our work,” Katz wrote. “Let’s finish the job this November.”

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