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Saratoga County District Attorney Announces Bid For County Court Judge

Lucas Willard

The District Attorney of Saratoga County announced Friday that he will be running for a new office.

Surrounded by his Republican colleagues at a press conference in Saratoga Springs, longtime district attorney James Murphy III formally announced that he is running for a new office.

“I am very, very pleased and privileged today to announce my candidacy for Saratoga County Court Judge,” said Murphy.

The County Judge seat is being vacated by Jerry Scarano, who has held the position for more than two decades. Scarano is retiring this year after he turns 70, the mandatory retirement age.

Murphy, well-known in Saratoga County, has served in the DA’s office in some capacity for the past 26 years. In 1997, he was elected District Attorney.

Murphy’s grandfather, Carleton King , was a Saratoga County DA before being elected to Congress in the 1960s, and Murphy’s father, James A. Murphy, Jr., was a former mayor of Saratoga Springs.

Murphy said his apolitical approach to his job as District Attorney would continue as County Judge.

“I think the best measure is ‘what kind of DA have I been?’,” said Murphy. “I mean there are some DA’s who run their office in very different ways – in a political way. And I think the things that I have tried to always be in terms of the office is fair, very balanced, and very apolitical.”  

Murphy said he has secured endorsements from the City of Saratoga Springs GOP, as well as Republican committees in Waterford, Halfmoon, and Edinburg, and is seeking the endorsements of other communities and the Saratoga County GOP.

Saratoga Springs Republican Committee chair David Harper said he’s interested in running to replace Murphy in the DA’s office.

“So I’ve told my own committee that I am going to step down as chairman in March and devote my time in purs0ring the endorsement to run for DA,” said Harper.

Harper previously served as a Saratoga County Assistant District Attorney for 22 years.

John Herrick, chair of the Saratoga County Republican Party, said his organization will not endorse any candidate for district attorney anytime soon.

“I think after today’s announcement, people will start to think and we’ll see who steps forward, but I think it’s premature at this point,” said Herrick. “We won’t be looking to interview any candidates for district attorney for a few months, if we do it this year.”

Murphy says as a judicial candidate, he cannot make any endorsements for a candidate seeking his current job.

“Ethically I am not permitted to endorse any candidate and it’s up to the voters to decide who should be the next district attorney,” said Murphy.

The county judge race will be decided in November. If Murphy does not step down from his office, the district attorney election will be held next year.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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