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Reformer before reform was cool? Assemblyman Dan Quart enters Manhattan DA race

2019-09-09

A rage for reform is sweeping the city as activists debate how to shut down Rikers Island and after socialist Tiffany Cabán nearly won the Democratic primary for Queens DA.

A four-term lawmaker is presenting himself as a reformer before it was cool as he officially enters the Manhattan district attorney race this week.

“I’m running for district attorney as a continuation of the work I’ve been doing for years in Albany as a legislator and in New York City as an attorney,” Assemblyman Dan Quart told the Daily News before his planned start of canvassing for votes Tuesday.

He pointed to his work helping end cash bail statewide and a bill he authored that would compensate exonerated inmates as examples of his progressive bona fides.

The 47-year-old Manhattan Dem’s campaign comes as some primary voters are increasingly warming to far-left candidates. Cabán’s platform of decriminalizing sex work and reducing the number of inmates sent to city jails almost got her to victory against Melinda Katz in August.

Quart said he endorsed Cabán and espouses her views on not prosecuting sex workers. He wants to shut down Rikers, but said he hasn’t “taken a specific stance yet” on the mayor’s controversial plan, which calls for building four new jails.

Incumbent DA Cy Vance is viewed as vulnerable due to widespread criticism for his handling of high-profile cases including that of ex-Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of sex assault by multiple women.

But Quart largely shied away from bashing Vance, instead pointing to prior statements he made criticizing the incumbent.

“His ethical failures are well known and its why I’ve written asking for him to be investigated,” Quart said.

He enters the 2021 race at the head of the pack in terms of fundraising. Quart had $667,231.03 in his campaign coffers as of July, compared to Vance’s $105,588.71 and former state chief deputy attorney general Alvin Bragg’s $143,981.74. Anti-Rikers advocate Janos Morton posted no activity in his latest disclosure report.