Manhattan DAs race: Winner takes on key investigations

New York Elections

All eyes are on the race for City Hall and who will be the next mayor of New York City.

But among the most consequential races on the ballot this year is the race for Manhattan District Attorney.

What does the Manhattan district attorney do?

It’s normally a position that turns over once in a generation, but current DA Cyrus Vance is stepping aside when his third term wraps at the end of this year.

It’s a big job: the next DA will inherit some serious investigations. The Manhattan DA’s office is currently leading a sweeping investigation into former President Donald Trump, including hush-money payments, taxes and other business dealings.

And as police reform and criminal justice have become cornerstone issues in local and national politics, many DA candidates have been discussing decriminalizing certain low-level offenses and holding police accountable.

Who’s running?

There are eight contenders in the Democratic primary, and they represent a wide range of experiences and options.

Tahanie Aboushi is a human rights attorney focused on reform who’s received a number of celebrity endorsements.

Alvin Bragg was the chief deputy state attorney general leading a special police involved shooting investigation team.

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Liz Crotty boats experience as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan and a civil litigator.

Tali Farhadian Weinstein is a professor and prosecutor and has spent millions of her own money on the campaign.

Diana Florence worked construction fraud in the Manhattan DAs office.

Lucy Lang was also in the Manhattan DA’s office for a time, and worked for CUNY.

Eliza Orlins has been a public defender for more than 10 years for the Legal Aid Society.

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Dan Quart is a state assemblyman who did pro bono criminal defense work while in private practice.

At the ballot box

Ranked choice voting doesn’t apply here. DA is a county-level office that’s governed by the state constitution.

New York City elections will feature the new ranked choice voting system, where voters can rank their top five candidates in a race; this change was made via an amendment to the city charter.

But for the Manhattan DA’s race, voters will only select one candidate in the primary, so New Yorkers will have to choose their favorite.

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