Newsbrief: Victory for Rockefeller Law Foe in Albany DA Race 11/5/04

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Running on a platform calling for repeal of the New York's draconian Rockefeller drug law, Democratic insurgent David Soares overcame Republican and conservative Democratic opposition to win the race for District Attorney in Albany, New York, on Tuesday. Soares, 35, stunned the local Democratic Party establishment in September by defeating his boss, incumbent DA Paul Clyne, a strong proponent of the Rockefeller laws, in the party primary. Now he has swept to victory in the general election, pulling 54% of the popular vote.

It wasn't without a fight. Refusing to accept defeat, Clyne ran on the Independence Party ticket until dropping out last week to endorse the Republican candidate, while GOP challenger Roger Cusick joined Clyne in attacking Soares' position on Rockefeller reform as too soft to win support from prosecutors and a cover for "legalization." Clyne even went so far as to say Soares would allow drug dealers to roam the streets and prey on children.

But backed by the Working Families Party and sizeable contributions from George Soros and other donors, Soares fended off his old school opponents and announced a new day in New York politics had begun. "The voters have demanded that the Rockefeller drug laws be reformed," Soares said at a victory celebration Tuesday night. "Every district attorney in the state clinging to these archaic laws will hear today's results. The legislature must act and the recalcitrant DA's must get out of the way -- or else go the way of the Albany County incumbent."

The victory was welcomed by drug reformers. "Soares' victory -- first in the primary and now in the general election -- proves that a political candidate can run and win on a platform that emphasizes sensible drug law reform," said DPA executive director Ethan Nadelmann. "The drug war bandwagon has run out of gas in New York. Political momentum now clearly favors reform."

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Issue #361, 11/5/04 Editorial: Ironic Hypocrisy | Big Win in Big Sky Country: Montana Approves Medical Marijuana | Alaska Marijuana Initiative Defeated | Oregon Measure to Expand Medical Marijuana Access Defeated | More Than a Thousand Drug Offenders Continue Doing Life Sentences Following Defeat of California Three-Strikes Reform Initiative | Local Marijuana Initiatives and Questions Win in Ann Arbor, Columbia, Oakland and Massachusetts | Newsbrief: Victory for Rockefeller Law Foe in Albany DA Race | Newsbrief: Another Tulia in East Texas? | Newsbrief: South Carolina Jury Refuses to Send Opium Smoker to Prison for Decades, Acquits Him of Trafficking Instead | Newsbrief: Dr. Hurwitz Trial Underway, Key Pain Doctor Prosecution | Newsbrief: Group Hands Out Free Crack Pipes in Vancouver Harm Reduction Action | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | This Week in History | The DARE Generation Returns to DC: Students for Sensible Drug Policy 2004 National Conference Next Month | Apply Now to Intern at DRCNet! | Seeking Information, Affiliations, Link Exchanges | The Reformer's Calendar

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