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Queens District Attorney: Tiffany Caban Not Conceding After Losing Lead To Melinda Katz

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Queens borough president Melinda Katz has taken the lead over attorney Tiffany Caban in the race for the Queens District Attorney Democratic nomination, but Caban's camp says don't count her out yet.

The morning after the polls closed last month, Caban was back on the campaign trail, thanking voters for her primary night victory over Katz.

Katz was trailing Caban by more than 1,000 votes, but the paper ballot count has flipped the narrative, giving Katz a paper-thin lead, CBS2's Hazel Sanchez reports.

"Every vote was counted and every voice was heard. I'm honored to be the Democratic nominee for Queens District Attorney," Katz tweeted late Wednesday night.

Katz's edge came Wednesday after the board of elections counted about 6,000 paper ballots.

Caban's camp alleges the BOE invalidated 2,500 paper ballots that should be included.

CBS2 couldn't reach the board for comment.

The result of a final recount is expected in the coming weeks.

For now, Caban says she's not conceding.

She released the following statement Thursday afternoon:

"Our campaign, and all of Queens, is up against a party machine that has ruled local politics and suppressed democracy for decades. Our communities are calling for a criminal justice system that ends mass incarceration, uplifts our black and brown communities, and decriminalizes poverty—rather than protecting the powerful. I am humbled every day by the volunteer effort we have built in this campaign. We are still fighting to make sure every valid ballot is counted. We are confident that if that happens, we will be victorious."

Caban found success with her progressive "people power" social media campaign, modeled after that of congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who stunningly broke down the Queens Democratic machine by defeating longtime congressman Joe Crowley.

"If Caban wins, then it's back to last week's narrative, but with more of a measure of humility that the progressive forces in the Democratic Party … have real electoral staying power," political analyst David Birdsell said.

Birdsell says if Katz ultimately wins, her team may take a page out of the progressive playbook.

"They're going to start investing a lot more in their social media operation and trying to mobilize the population that they believe to be larger than the progressive group," he said.

The board of elections says it hopes to have the manual recount completed by July 16.

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