The incumbent prosecutor in Albany County, N.Y., was defeated last week after an opponent argued that he was too tough on crime, says the Village Voice. Little-known lawyer David Soares had waged a relentless attack against his former boss, District Attorney Paul Clyne, contending that Democrats should vote out Clyne because he does not support reforming the state’s harsh drug laws. Soares’s stance made him very popular among anti-Rockefeller activists. They have been trying for years to convince state legislators to change the drug laws, without success. Their main opponent has been the state’s District Attorneys Association, of which Clyne is a vice president.
If Soares prevails in November, he will be the first district attorney in New York State to get elected with a campaign platform advocating drug law reform. First he must defeat Clyne again because Clyne is running in the general election on the Independence Party line. “It’s the first time a political candidate has been defeated primarily because of their overzealous support of the drug laws,” says Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance, which endorsed Soares. “It’s significant because it happened in a district that’s majority white and suburban, and Clyne lost in [almost] every neighborhood there.”