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Queens DA Katz cruises to victory over two challengers to win second term

Nov. 8, 2023 By Bill Parry

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz secured a second term as the borough’s top law enforcement official cruising past two challengers on Tuesday, Nov. 7, with nearly 67% of the vote with more than 97% of the scanners reported, according to unofficial results from the city’s Board of Elections.

Howard Beach resident and criminal attorney Michael Mossa finished second with just over 27% on the Republican and Conservative party lines, while retired Judge George Grasso of Douglaston finished third with just over 5%, appearing on the “Public Safety” line.

“First and foremost, I want to thank the voters for once more entrusting me with this office, in a time when so many people are deeply concerned about both the integrity of our criminal justice system and about their personal safety,” Katz said. “It is an awesome responsibility, but one that I am honored to take on for the people of this great Borough.”

Katz added that she was proud of what her office has accomplished over the past four years.

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz. File photo by Mark Hallum

“We’ve gotten countless guns off our streets and have brought violent crime down. We’ve expanded programs to keep kids on the right track and out of the criminal justice system,” Katz said. “We’ve taken on retail theft to help our local business owners survive and thrive. We’ve overturned over one hundred wrongful convictions, undoing tragic injustices of the past, we’ve cracked down on human trafficking, and we are the only DA’s office in the state to have a unit dedicated to protecting immigrants’ rights. And with hate crimes rising, my office is fighting back with prevention and prosecution of those whose bigotry leads to vandalism, violence or worse.”

Mossa was back in court on Nov. 8 and said he was disappointed by the outcome the night before.

“I had $5,000 to run the race so I was underfunded. I certainly think I would have gotten 40 to 45% if I had a reasonable amount of money to run a countywide race,” Mossa said. “And then there was a third party challenge that was trying to take part of the Republican vote. If you’re going to take a law and order stance you should be running on the Republican and Conservative lines, right?”

Grasso congratulated Katz and wished her “great success” in her ongoing efforts to make Queens safer.

Before joining the judiciary, Grasso served more than three decades in the NYPD starting as a beat cop in the 113th Precinct in Jamaica and rising through the ranks to first deputy commissioner. He stepped down as administrative judge in Queens Supreme Court in August 2022 in order to run for district attorney despite having two years remaining in his term. Katz defeated Grasso in the Democratic primary in June, so he relaunched his campaign after Labor Day as an independent candidate in the general election.

Melinda Katz defeated retired Judge George Grasso in the Democratic primary in June and in the general election when he appeared on a third-party line. Photo courtesy of Grasso’s campaign

“Running as a third-party independent candidate and breaking through voters’ tendencies and preconceptions to vote strictly along party lines was difficult, nearly impossible,” Grasso said. “While I concede this election, I do not concede my view that egregious errors have been made with respect to public safety in our city and state over the past several years. Because of that, I will continue to be a voice for what I believe to be right.”

Katz took a parting shot at Grasso.

“We work hard in the DA’s office, but as President Teddy Roosevelt famously said, ‘Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is a chance to work hard at work worth doing.’ And it is that hard work that we do in my office that will always be the single strongest argument for my re-election,” Katz said. “More than TV spots, lawn signs or digital ads, our work investigating and prosecuting crimes, holding wrongdoers accountable while protecting the rights of the accused, and engaging our community in crime prevention efforts – it is that work by which I am judged by the voters. Voters want results, which is what we deliver. So while one of my opponents took the summer off after badly losing the primary, in my office we never stop working. And that is why it is so gratifying and humbling to have won re-election with such strong numbers.”

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