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Albany County DA candidates tout competing endorsements in Democratic primary

Criminal justice and immigration reform in New York took center stage, as candidates Lee Kindlon and DA David Soares debated issues including bail reform and the effectiveness of "Raise the Age" policy.
Spectrum News
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Screenshot
Criminal justice and immigration reform in New York took center stage, as candidates Lee Kindlon and DA David Soares debated June 4th on Spectrum News. Issues discussed included bail reform and the effectiveness of "Raise the Age" policy.

Heading toward primary day Tuesday, the candidates for Albany County District Attorney have picked up additional endorsements from prominent Democrats.  

Lee Kindlon with Senator Neil Breslin at Albany's Bull Moose Club, June 17, 2024.
Dave Lucas
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WAMC
Lee Kindlon with Senator Neil Breslin at Albany's Bull Moose Club, June 17, 2024.

Retiring 46th District New York state Senator Neil Breslin has joined Albany County Executive Dan McCoy and Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan in backing challenger Lee Kindlon, who is mounting his second campaign against five-term District Attorney David Soares.

"I am the senator from the Albany area, and have been for 28 years," said Breslin. "And personally, I rarely get involved in any campaigns, but this campaign, is something that needs everybody to be involved in, and I'm supporting Lee Kindlon, and I'm disappointed in David Soares, with his mishandling of dollars that benefited him, with his stand as a lawyer, with his stance on bail reform and other measures that I think are just overwhelmingly needed to make it a fairer system for all.”

Soares lost the support of county Democrats for using a grant to give himself a $23,000 bonus. He later returned the funds under pressure. Breslin says there were other red flags in the past.

"The fact that David's been there 20 years, to me, is not significant, and you could question me otherwise. It's his bookkeeping. And I've chatted with him on occasions about [it], even using, which there's a technicality, using funds from drug busts for his Christmas parties in the DA’s office. It's inappropriate. [He] should know better. And we as lawyers, and we as district attorneys or public figures, we have a much higher burden to make sure we do the right thing. And I think it's time for a change. And I wish David the best of luck in the future, but I'm supporting Lee, because I think he'll do a much better job," Breslin said. 

Kindlon, who is also supported by 109th District state Assemblymember Pat Fahy, says voters have given him an earful while door-to-door campaigning

 "Their big concern is quality of life issues and how they see crime affecting them," Kindlon said, "and they want to make sure that their streets are safe because, you know, parents, kids, grandparents, everybody has the same basic concerns out there, are my tax dollars being wisely spent? Are my streets going to be safe in a week or a month or a year?"

Meanwhile, former Governor David Paterson is again supporting Soares after first backing him in 2004.

DA David Soares, flanked by supporters including 3rd ward Albany Common Councilor Joyce Love, former NY Gov. David Paterson and 10th ward Albany Common Councilor Owusu Anane.
Dave Lucas
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WAMC
DA David Soares, flanked by supporters including 3rd ward Albany Common Councilor Joyce Love, former NY Gov. David Paterson and 10th ward Albany Common Councilor Owusu Anane. ( June 17, 2024.)

 "I supported him back then. I support him now. I'm as loyal to him now as I was then," said Paterson, who sides with Soares, who has come under fire from other Democrats for his opposition to Raise the Age and bail reform.

"These are the types of tough stands that he's taken, and what he's gotten, really, is a lot of anger and frustration from a lot of his colleagues, particularly those who are African American," Paterson said. "And he has been hoodwinked and cajoled over these issues, when he is actually trying to adjust to the changes that were not made by him, but were made by the legislature itself, which seems to take very little responsibility for it."

Soares is banking on the primary vote to reveal true public sentiment.

"What we have is a confluence of public safety policies that have all come together to create the environment right now that we have in our community where violence is allowed to thrive," said Soares. 

Soares also has support from Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple and Cohoes Mayor Bill Keeler, a retired State Police captain. Early voting is under way.

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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