On TV dramas, cases brought by the Manhattan district attorney usually wrap up in about an hour. Figuring out who’s likely to be the borough’s next district attorney in real life will take a bit longer.
A winner in the Democratic primary for the high-profile prosecutor job glamorized on shows like “Law & Order” wasn't immediately clear Tuesday night.
Alvin Bragg, a law professor and former top deputy in the New York attorney general's office, was locked in a close race with former federal prosecutor Tali Farhadian Weinstein. Six other Democrats in the race trailed further behind.
Bragg led, but tens of thousands of absentee ballots remained to be counted, preventing The Associated Press from calling the race.
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At an election night party in Harlem, a tearful Bragg acknowledged the many outstanding votes, but also projected confidence he'd won, telling supporters “we did this together" and quipping “we've never seen the DA cry.”
Reiterating his campaign pledges, Bragg said: “We’re going to demand and deliver on both safety and fairness for all of Manhattan."
Farhadian Weinstein, however, said she was waiting for all votes to be counted and wouldn't concede.
“We all knew going into today that this race was not going to be decided tonight and it has not been," Farhadian Weinstein said in a statement, noting that only a few percentage points separated the candidates. "And so we have to be patient.”
In heavily Democratic Manhattan, the party’s primary is all but certain to determine who succeeds the current district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr., who is leaving office at the end of the year.
There’s a good chance Vance’s successor will inherit his ongoing criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump and his businesses.
The candidates say they’re not afraid of taking on Trump, but they’ve also been cautious not to appear to be prejudging the case. Vance’s office has spent two years looking at hush-money payments, property valuations, tax strategies, executive compensation, and other dealings.
Aside from the former president, the next district attorney will have to grapple with concerns over rising street crime and ongoing debates about criminal justice and the role of prosecutors.
Candidate Lucy Lang, who ranked fourth in the initial round of early voting, conceded on Wednesday.
"I am deeply grateful to my own incredible family, friends, supporters, volunteers, and campaign staff who have spread this message of dignity, equity, and safety across our great borough and into the national conversation," her statement said in part. "We end this campaign exactly where we started – with the wisdom of New Yorkers who know our criminal justice system firsthand."
In a concession statement of her own, fellow candidate Tahanie Aboushi thanked the volunteers and supporters who helped her campaign, saying that they "helped us move the conversation on justice reform to one that involved our communities and that centered the voices of those most impacted by this system. Together we made it clear that we don't have to choose between police accountability and public safety."
She went on to congratulate Bragg on his victory, even if it not all the votes had yet been counted.