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Albany County Executive endorses Kindlon, sheriff sticks with DA in bitter Democratic primary

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, DA David Soares and Sheriff Craig Apple appear on Spectrum News, March 2020
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Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, DA David Soares and Sheriff Craig Apple appear on Spectrum News, March 2020

Two prominent Albany County Democrats are on opposite sides of the Democratic primary for district attorney.  

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy is endorsing Lee Kindlon for District Attorney instead of five-term incumbent David Soares, saying the sitting DA has lost his way.

"Somewhere along the line, he lost who he was, and I hope he can find that person again," said McCoy. "I stand by a lot of his policies. I still stand by the bail reform. We need to change it, but we need to go back. New York State needs to fix bail reform. There's no doubt about it. So it's not about bail reform, it's not about some of the ways different things are in his office, but there are some issues.”

Soares fell out of favor after losing the support of county Democrats for using a grant to give himself a $23,000 bonus. He later returned the funds under pressure. McCoy says Kindlon, who lost to Soares in 2012, will "bring back the standard" Soares brought to the office in his earlier years as DA.

“It's time for change," McCoy said. "And again, I'm not here to tangle with his record, to be here against bail reform, because that certain crazy gun guy is going to be like ‘he's all about that’ but it's not about bail reform. It's about integrity, and I hope he finds himself, because I do believe he did a good job at one point in time in that office, and has tried. But that's why we need Lee, because we need to bring the integrity back.”

Soares responded to McCoy in a written statement

"Just weeks ago, the County Executive publicly said he strongly agrees with and supports my public safety positions. So today's action, which indicates the exact opposite of that, begs one question; Was he lying then, or is he lying now? The County Executive's casual situationship with the truth is something that he and my opposition share."

Shown the statement, McCoy reacted, saying he still believes New York needs to change its bail reform laws. “We need to change it," McCoy said. "We are good at incarcerating, putting people in jail in this country. We weren't good at programs and looking at things different like other countries did. So we had to change. But we changed before, and I said we got to come back. Got to give judges the power. So I do. I stand by that.”

Kindlon thanked McCoy and other party leaders for their support.

"They understand that the status quo cannot hold anymore that how we seem to suddenly have grown used to the murder rate in Albany topping 20 year after year after year, cannot be a thing that we just have to get used to, and cannot be a thing that we can blame other people for, and that's why I'm always so concerned about accountability, because accountability is taking on what you understand the problem is, and taking on the responsibility of fixing it. But right now, all we get from the incumbent is blame. Why it's not his fault,” said Kindlon. 

In a social media post Friday, Sheriff Craig Apple endorsed Soares, saying "since he was leading the fight against bail reform, many in our party have determined he needs to go," and that the attacks on Soares are politically motivated.

“David has been an advocate for changes to the bail reform legislation," Apple said. "Everything he says is point on. He's the guy that sees it every day. I'm the guy that sees it every day. And for somebody to stand out there and say that bail reform is making us safer, is completely misleading the public, and I would ask them to contact the people who have buried loved ones, who have loved ones who have been stabbed, stabbings that are at an all time high in this area. We've never seen 30, 40, stabbings in one locality. Are you kidding me? Things are out of control, and we got to get back to what used to be normal. And you know what? They want to demonize him over the grant monies or whatever happened. Listen, he owned it, and he moved on. And none of us are perfect. We've all made mistakes. David's a good guy and David's a great DA. I could have stayed in my comfort zone and not come out and endorsed anybody, but I care too much about this community. We're letting politics, personalities affect public safety, and I can't stand for that.”

Kindlon, also backed by Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, says if elected he'll "work well" with city and county law enforcement.

“I there was a spirit of togetherness that I think has been lost with Soares going off on his own and declaring, you know, I alone, can fix these things," Kindlon said. "And so you see a lot of friction now that I just don't think is necessary. You know, one of the other great things about public service is we may not agree on every issue. I may not agree with Mayor Sheehan on every issue. I certainly appreciate her endorsement.”

Early voting in the June 25th primary starts Saturday.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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