More Albany County Democrats could enter district attorney race as Soares faces backlash

D.A. Soares could face Democratic competitors

Two other candidates for D.A. could soon enter the race.

Albany County District Attorney David Soares will appear before members of the county legislature on Feb. 28 in response to the investigation of the $22,000 bonus he gave himself though a state grant.

His statement came as Soares also announced he is running for re-election, despite not getting his own party’s endorsement Tuesday night. The party did not endorse anyone after news of the investigation into Soares’ bonus.

Assemblyman Phil Steck told NewsChannel 13 Wednesday he filed a letter of interest with the Albany County Democrats’ Executive Committee.

Sources told NewsChannel 13 multiple members of the Democratic Committee have reached out to well-known Defense Attorney Lee Kindlon to consider a run for Albany County district attorney.

“I’ve put my name in to the executive committee to be interviewed for the endorsement,” Kindlon told NewsChannel 13

He told Dan Levy he would not seek the office if he did not receive the endorsement.

What was expected to be an easy endorsement for D.A. David Soares could turn out to be a competitive Democratic field, with three potential candidates, including Kindlon and Assemblyman Phil Steck, vying for the party’s endorsement.

Steck was one of the first Capital Region representatives to call for Soares to resign. Steck said he had not considered a run before Soares came under investigation.

“Two weeks ago, no one even envisioned this as a possibly vacant office,” Steck said. “It appeared to me that the defense of the district attorney was completely unreasonable, and that, to me, an elected official who doesn’t know it’s wrong to do what he did, I think the credibility of his office suffers from that.”

Steck has represented a portion of Albany County in the legislature since 2013.

He pointed to his extensive legal background, including as a current partner at an Albany law firm, as a reason he would be a good fit.

“I was an assistant D.A. outside of Albany County in one of the best district attorneys’ offices in the nation, the Manhattan D.A.’s office, and I think we need to bring in someone to take a fresh look at how we handle things here in Albany County,” he said.

Soares released a video statement from his campaign Tuesday night. When NewsChannel 13 asked for comment, his campaign referred to the video.

“The last several years, I have certainly managed to rankle the feathers of the political flock, and they’ve attempted to silence the inconvenient truths that I speak, but I can’t let that happen,” Soares said as he appeared in the video with his family.  

Albany County’s D.A. has defended his decision to pay himself the one-time bonus, saying the legislature agreed to bonuses for his office. He also offered to pay the money back.

The Democratic Committee told NewsChannel 13 it is possible it will not endorse any one candidate for district attorney.

“Last night at our annual endorsement meeting the Albany County Democrats decided to take no action on the endorsement for the position of District Attorney in 2024. The committee will instead reopen interviews for interested and qualified candidates that are seeking the Democratic Party’s Endorsement in 2024,” the committee said in part in a written statement.

The Albany County GOP said Wednesday it was seeking a candidate to enter the race.

“We are working very hard to get the right candidate for this position,” the party said.