MANHATTAN - Manhattan district attorney candidate Dan Quart will reform the district attorney’s office and focus its priorities on public safety, police accountability, and fairness. The only candidate with 20+ years as a community lawyer and an actual record of achieving criminal justice reform, Quart has a clear path to victory and a message that is resonating with voters across the borough.
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[...] Mr. Quart, 49, is the only white man running as a Democrat to lead an office that has only ever been led by white men. He is also the only candidate who has been charged with a crime, for smoking weed at a Phish concert in 1995.
He grew up in Washington Heights and graduated from the law school at St. John’s University in 1997. In 2000, he caught the politics bug after helping a friend with an unsuccessful State Senate campaign. Eleven years later, he won a seat in the State Assembly that he has held since.
Shortly after taking office, he was told by a constituent that young people were being arrested by the thousands for possessing small blades known as gravity knives. Mr. Quart took the issue on, and after seven years of fighting for it, the bill that criminalized the possession of such knives was repealed.
Mr. Quart has not picked up many flashy endorsements like Ms. Aboushi, nor does he have the visible online support of Ms. Orlins. But he has been endorsed by a number of elected officials from Manhattan, as well as several Democratic clubs. He argues that his name recognition and proven support on the Upper East Side is a greater asset than Ms. Orlins’s Twitter army or Ms. Aboushi’s political allies.
The most moderate of the trio, he has emphasized his commitment to public safety in recent weeks. Mr. Quart has limited experience in the criminal courtroom, something that his opponents have used against him.
“There is no world in which he is qualified to be D.A.” Ms. Orlins said. “He shows such a deep misunderstanding of the law.”
A campaign spokeswoman, Kate Smart, disagreed, making reference to Mr. Quart’s work in the Assembly.
His “deep knowledge of the law helped him write and pass the only two changes to New York’s penal code in the past two decades,” she said.
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