Bragg to Win Manhattan D.A. Primary After Opponent Concedes

Alvin Bragg, a Harlem native and former federal prosecutor, is set to win the Democratic primary for Manhattan District Attorney after his final opponent, Tali Farhadian Weinstein, conceded the race on Friday.

Bragg, 47, would be the first Black district attorney for Manhattan. Though official results were not available on Friday, Bragg and Farhadian Weinstein were far ahead of the rest of field, and the other Democratic candidates have already conceded the race. Bragg will face off against Republican Thomas Kenniff in November but is almost certain to prevail in deep-blue Manhattan.

Bragg led the race on the night of the June 22 primary with about 34% of the vote, but Farhadian Weinstein, the wife of Saba Capital co-founder Boaz Weinstein, was close behind with around 30%. She held out hopes that absentee ballots would allow her to close the gap but said on Friday that further counting of paper ballots revealed she had no path to victory.

The next district attorney will face pressure to address both a sharp rise in crime in the city and racial and social justice concerns that came to the fore following George Floyd’s death at police hands. He may also take the reins of a historic prosecution of a former president -- current Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance this week brought 15-count indictment against the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, that could be the opening salvo in a broader case.

Harvard Law Graduate

Bragg has pledged to restructure the office and stop prosecutions that he says mainly “criminalize poverty.” But the Harvard Law School graduate has also campaigned on his long career as a prosecutor. Like mayoral candidate Eric Adams, Bragg has cited his personal experience with both unsafe streets and heavy-handed law enforcement.

“Growing up in Harlem, I was repeatedly stopped and frisked by the NYPD as a teenager, including three times at gunpoint,” he said earlier this year. “I also had guns pointed at me three times by people who were not police officers.”

A former assistant Manhattan U.S. attorney, Bragg also served as chief deputy New York attorney general where he oversaw that office’s investigation of the Trump Foundation, resulting in its dissolution, and filed several lawsuits challenging Trump administration policies on behalf of New York.

In the early days of the race, many candidates were heavily focused on racial and social justice, with some pledging to decriminalize several offenses or vowing to shrink the office. One of the largest prosecutor’s offices in the nation, the Manhattan district attorney has an annual budget of about $126 million, has about 500 lawyers and 700 support staff.

Crime Focus

But, as in the mayoral race, attention shifted in the final weeks to the rise in crime in New York. Though few shied away from non-prosecution pledges, most said they would aggressively combat violent crime.

Civil rights lawyer Tahanie Aboushi, public defender Eliza Orlins and Assemblyman Dan Quart ran on the most unapologetically progressive platforms, vowing to reduce the size of the district attorney’s office and push alternatives to incarceration. Aboushi, who was endorsed by Senator Bernie Sanders, came in a distant third behind Bragg and Farhadian Weinstein, but Orlins and Quart both finished at the back of the pack.

The race was a historically diverse one. Of the eight Democrats who ran in the primary, six were women, one was a Black man and only one White man, Quart. Both Vance and his predecessor, Robert Morgenthau, who held the office for 35 years, were the sons of cabinet secretaries.

Farhadian Weinstein, who sought to become the first woman district attorney, had a massive financial edge, with hedge fund heavyweights like David Einhorn, Bill Ackman, Ken Griffin and Jason Mudrick pouring more money into her campaign. In the final weeks of the campaign, she put $8.2 million of her own money into the race, bringing her total fundraising to nearly $13 million, far more than all of her seven rivals combined.

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