ELIZABETHTOWN - The race for Essex County District Attorney was effectively narrowed to two candidates June 10 when the county Democratic Committee opted to endorse Republican incumbent Julie Garcia.
It took two hours of meetings for the committee to give the nod to Garcia, who lost the Republican nomination to Clinton County Assistant DA Kristy Sprague.
Sue Montgomery Corey, county Democratic Party Chair, said her party is happy to support Garcia, who's been on the job since taking the seat from Ronald Briggs in 2006.
"We feel that her message of good government and transparency is very important right now in Essex County," Corey said. "We're very proud of the work she's done in the DA's office and we're committed to helping her earn another term."
The Democratic committee now has to send out petitions and get roughly 1,000 signatures to place Garcia on the party's line in this fall's general election.
"I was very pleased to receive the endorsement of the Democrats," Garcia said. "This race is going to be about good government and about Republicans and Democrats coming together for a common purpose, and that purpose is to bring good government to the people of Essex County."
Lake Placid attorney and Independent candidate Brian Barrett also sought the Democratic endorsement, but he later opted to withdraw his request and asked the committee to instead support Garcia.
"Brian made it very clear after my Republican endorsement that if he did not get the Democratic support that he would most likely drop out of the race," said Sprague. " That is a tough decision to make, but only one that he can make. Best of luck to him in whatever he decides."
One Democratic candidate had expressed an interest in running - John McAlevey of Jay. Committee officials reportedly said he is likely to support Garcia.
Garcia still intends to face Sprague in the Republican primary election Sept. 15, according to her campaign spokesman Brendan Quinn. Sprague withdrew her request for Democratic Party support prior to the first meeting.
"Some Republicans may try to use the Democratic endorsement against Ms. Garcia, but her policy has always been that she serves all the residents of Essex County," said Quinn, affirming that Garcia would remain a Republican despite receiving the endorsement of Democrats. "She has no plans to switch parties."
As the endorsed Republican candidate, Sprague looks for her party's support to be affirmed in the primary.
"I am anticipating and am ready for a two party race in November," she said.