After counting some 6,000 paper ballots last week, Borough President Melinda Katz is up by a slim 16 votes over insurgent candidate Tiffany Caban, 34,899 to 34,883.
Caban declared victory on Election Night after gaining a 1,199-vote lead, which to most political observers, was too much to overcome for Katz.
In a shocking reversal, Katz declared her own victory after the manual recount of paper ballots.
But both candidates know the point is moot. The race is now headed for a weeks-long recount and court battle that will determine the fate of the election.
State Supreme Court Judge Jeremy Weinstein will reportedly decide on whether 114 affidavit ballots should be validated and counted for the final vote total.
Those ballots were initially invalidated because the voters apparently did not fill in their party enrollment on the form, casting doubt on whether they were registered Democrats.
With such a marginal difference between Katz and Caban, the 114 affidavit votes will, without a doubt, play a big role in who emerges with the lead.
With so much on the line, it’s only natural for the campaigns and their supporters to snipe at each other. Some Caban backers have even laughably accused the Queens Democratic Party machine of conspiracy, manipulation and stealing the election.
Yes, the Queens machine appoints judges and Board of Elections commissioners. No, that doesn't mean they will rig the election for Katz.
In fact, Caban’s team boasts one of the best election lawyers in the state. Attorney Jerry Goldfeder wrote the book on modern election law, and will be watching this process closely.
Katz’s camp, meanwhile, released a list of 10 snarky questions that should be asked of the Caban campaign. Here’s just a taste of what they want to know:
• Are older voters, who are less likely to support Caban, less important?
• Do they regret purposefully misleading voters and the media, and will they make a public statement clarifying the facts?
• Why do they lack faith in the oversight of Election Day operations of the City Board of Elections by our AG Tish James?
Don’t you just love when campaigns ask rhetorical, leading questions?
These accusations are just the start of what is likely to be a bitter couple of weeks between the two campaigns. But hey, it’s just the future of the borough’s criminal justice system hanging in the balance!
Meanwhile, on the Republican side, Katz has ruled out running on the GOP ticket, but third-place finisher Greg Lasak has not. During the campaign, he espoused moderate to conservative views that did not jibe with left-leaning Democratic voters.
New state GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy is reportedly open to accepting a Democrat on the Republican line.
Another candidate could be Belle Harbor attorney Keith Sullivan, who was the lead attorney in the multi-million dollar Sandy lawsuit against power companies. He’s also thinking of jumping into the race.
The only person who appears to be out is the GOP’s actual nominee, Ozone Park attorney Daniel Kogan.
Republicans have until August to decide who will run on their line. By then, they may have a good idea of who will be on the opposing side.