UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — Democrats living in parts of the Upper East Side and Midtown Manhattan will head to the polls on June 23 to cast their votes in the first contested primary for the State Assembly's 73rd District in more than 10 years.
Incumbent Dan Quart will face off against young challenger Cameron Koffman. Quart has represented the district since winning a 2011 special election to succeed former Assemblymember Jonathan Bing. The longtime lawmaker and legal aid lawyer is also running for Manhattan District Attorney in 2021.
Koffman, a descendant of the LeFrak real estate fortune, is a recent graduate of Yale University. The young challenger's undergraduate studies were the subject of a legal challenge filed by Quart's campaign to have Koffman kicked off the ballot. Quart's lawyers argued Koffman doesn't meet New York's residency requirements for elected officials because he registered to vote in Connecticut, but New York's highest court ruled in favor of Koffman.
The primary election, slated for June 23, is open to registered Democratic voters. All New York voters may request a mail-in ballot due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ballots must be postmarked by the date of the election for the vote to count.
For those who want to head to the polls, click here to find your poll site. Early voting is available from June 13 to June 21.
Patch reached out to all candidates in the primary election to create these profiles. Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.
Age as of Election Day (Nov. 3)
NYC neighborhood of residence
Upper East Side
Sister, Rachel Lipsitz, Age 24. Sister, Sydney Lipsitz, Age 24. Sister, Julia Koffman, Age 20. Brother, James Koffman, Age 2.
Does anyone in your family work in politics or government?
B.A. from Yale University in Politics, Ethics, and Economics.
Journalist, Scholar of Ethics.
Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office
This is my first run for elected office.
Why are you seeking elective office?
As a lifelong resident of District 73, I have a close connection to our neighbors and extensive knowledge of our unique community. I decided to run for office because I know that there's no time to waste on 21st century issues like climate change, education reform or gun control. My generation is just getting started in government and public service, but we know that we need clean government now. As we live through the COVID-19 pandemic, full-time representation is more important than ever. We need lawmakers who can listen to the concerns of residents and develop viable policy solutions. I’m focused on bringing a new generation of ethical leadership to Albany. Committed leadership is good for everybody.
The single most pressing issue facing our nation/state/community is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.
Bringing our businesses back. Even before COVID-19, we had far too many vacant storefronts. Now the problem is even worse. The latest studies indicate that more than 1 in 7 storefronts in District 73 are vacant. We should repeal the commercial rent tax and create a more equitable property tax system to give small businesses relief. We also need more robust enforcement of an online retail sales tax to level the playing field between brick and mortar business and e-commerce.
What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?
Full-time representation and a full policy platform. My opponent is running for two offices at once, and wants to keep his side job defending insurance companies in addition to his two simultaneous campaigns. Instead, I want to serve our district full-time and for a full term. I also have a full policy platform describing my plans to bring us back from the destruction of COVID-19, fight climate change, and keep our neighborhood vibrant and strong.
If you are a challenger, in what way has the current board or officeholder failed the community (or district or constituency)
The current officeholder is in it for himself. By running for two offices at once, he demonstrates that our district isn't his primary concern. And you can see it in the lack of constituent services by his office, his anemic approach to making our neighborhood stronger over the last 9 years that he's been in office, and his support of unfriendly policies for our neighborhood such as placing the congestion pricing line at 60th Street. We need someone willing to fight for us who takes no outside income and always wants to put our community ahead of their ambition to run for higher office and leave us behind.