Incumbent Broome County District Attorney Michael Korchak has lost renomination in the June 27 Republican primary election, according to unofficial results published by the county’s Board of Elections.
Arguing that Broome County has been less safe with Korchak in office, Paul Battisti, a local defense attorney, won 55.6 percent of the vote running on a conservative, tough-on-crime vision of public safety. The campaign often became heated between the two men, with Battisti charging Korchak of “completely and utterly [failing] at keeping Broome County families safe.” Korchak accused Battisti of “[trying] to mislead the public” in response.
The election was a rematch of 2019, when Battisti won the Republican primary, only to lose to Korchak in the general election, when he ran on the Libertarian ticket. This year, New York state’s third-party laws will prevent Korchak from running in November.
In an election night message to supporters, Battisti thanked supporters, looking ahead toward the general election.
“Today the Republican voters of Broome County decisively declared that they want a big change in leadership at the District Attorney’s Office, so that our families are safe again,” Battisti wrote. “Our General Election campaign starts right now, and we won’t stop until we deliver another big win on [Nov.] 7.”
Korchak conceded the race the next morning.
“As I stated throughout my campaign, a district attorney must have experience, integrity, and honesty,” Korchak wrote. “Today, my team and I have returned to work, representing the victims, their families and protecting our communities with the same zealousness and commitment that we have had since taking office. We will continue to do so until the end of my term.”
During the campaign, Battisti amassed support from prominent figures within the local Republican establishment, including Broome County Sheriff Fred Akshar and Binghamton Mayor Jared Kraham, as well as several police unions. They echoed Battisti’s desire for change in the DA’s office, as well as claims of ineffective prosecution.
“I’m voting for Battisti for Broome County [DA] because a change is needed at the DA’s office, and [he] is the best person for the job,” Kraham said, according to a post on Battisti’s campaign Facebook. “[Battisti’s] courtroom experience, community involvement and commitment to Broome County make him the best person to serve as our next [DA].”
The heated DA race has exposed divisions in the local Republican Party. Recently, the Broome County Republican Committee was accused of retaliating against Binghamton University’s College Republicans for conversing with Korchak at an event. Benji Federman, the chairman of the Broome Republicans, said previously that the party officially remained neutral in contested primary races.
In a statement, Logan Blakeslee, the secretary of the College Republicans and a senior double-majoring in history and political science, criticized Battisti, calling him “severely unqualified to hold public office.”
“This is disappointing news to our club, as we were negatively affected by blatant favoritism from partisan elites who wanted a DA more compliant with their agendas,” Blakeslee wrote in an email. “[Battisti’s] victory is a loss for transparency and the rule of law.”
Battist will face former Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan, a Democrat, in November. Ryan, whose campaign has emphasized taking a more proactive approach to preventing crime, was arrested by police in February at a protest against police brutality.
“[Ryan] will put forth a series of more effective approaches to promote public safety, including improving pretrial services, utilizing violence interrupter programs, promoting substance use and mental health treatment options and supporting victims and their families,” a press release from his campaign said. “For far too long, the Broome County [DA’s] antiquated approach to crime has failed to make our community safer.”