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With silence from incumbent, winning Democrat and GOP hopeful begin campaigning in general election for Albany County DA

Ralph Ambrosio
Dave Lucas
/
WAMC
Ralph Ambrosio

The general election for Albany County District Attorney is taking shape even as the incumbent maintains his silence.

Soares addressed a handful of backers on Primary Night but did not concede.
Dave Lucas
/
WAMC
Soares addressed a handful of backers on Primary Night but did not concede.

Five-term District Attorney David Soares has not conceded his defeat in the June 25th Democratic primary against defense attorney Lee Kindlon, and his campaign and official spokesman have declined to comment. Soares last spoke on election night.

"The people of Albany County will eventually speak. I don't believe that they have spoken yet," said Soares. 

In the meantime, Republican Ralph Ambrosio launched his campaign Thursday outside the Albany County Judicial Center. The former New York State Trooper and prosecutor in Columbia and Greene counties thinks the political winds may be shifting in his favor.

 "My game plan is to reorganize the district attorney's office into a central booking, early case evaluation," Ambrosio said. "I want to talk to police officers in real time after the arrest and pre arraignment. I want to gather all the evidence. I'm going to challenge the police officers to certify to me that I've gotten all of the discovery, because I'm responsible for their discovery as well as my own. Once I get them ready to go and we'll go to arraignment. At arraignment, I'm going to have the defendant there, and I'm going to ask I'm going to ask for Parker warnings."

Parker warnings inform defendants if they fail to return to court a trial could proceed in their absence.

Ambrosio says he wants to restore the integrity of the office by bringing back "normalcy to the criminal justice system in Albany County.”

"I was a New York State Trooper in 1977. I spent 23 years there. I was a prosecutor in Greene County, a prosecutor in my home county of Columbia County. I was an assistant attorney general here in the litigation bureau, over on State Street, and back to the state police as an assistant counsel, all told, around 33 years. All told, 47 years in the criminal justice system. I was also a criminal defense attorney. And as a criminal defense attorney, I represented a young, 21-year-old Marine, [a] Black man who was accused of raping a white girl in 1997 in Hudson and I had a 'To Kill a Mockingbird' moment. I was Atticus Finch. Only thing was I got my guy off, and I got him off because I proved he was innocent through DNA."

Soares’ primary loss came after local Democrats abandoned the 20-year incumbent after he used a state grant to give himself a $23,000 bonus. Soares later returned the money.

Lee Kindlon
Lucas Willard
/
WAMC
Lee Kindlon

Kindlon tells WAMC he's ready to run in a possible three way race this November.

"Yeah. I mean, look, we started this campaign late in February, and we put together everything as fast as we could, and that required a lot of hard work on my part, and the campaign’s, the staff and we pulled off what some people are calling an upset win. I was always pretty confident that we were going to win, but I have nothing but faith in my campaign's ability to deliver the win in November, whether it's against the Republican or if David wants to somehow mount an ill-fated write-in campaign, I beat him once, I'll beat him again."

Democrats hold a significant enrollment advantage in Albany County.

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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