Broome sheriff contributes to Newcomb campaign

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Kathleen Newcomb declared her candidacy to run as a Democrat for Broome County Sheriff in 2021. (Vaughn Golden/WSKG)

VESTAL, NY (WSKG) — Retiring Broome County Sheriff David Harder transferred the remainder of his campaign funds to Kathleen Newcomb.

Newcomb, who declared her intention to run as a Democrat to replace the six-term sheriff, said she was surprised and humbled to receive the $2,603 contribution from Harder.

“He closed his campaign account, the Friends of Dave Harder campaign account, and he took–to the best of my knowledge, the remainder of his balance and donated it to me,” Newcomb said.

The contribution from Harder is the largest to Newcomb’s campaign last year, according to filings from the Board of Elections. Newcomb reported around $8,000 cash-on-hand going into 2022.

Despite the contribution to Newcomb, Harder said he is remaining “neutral” in the race, for now.

“I wanted to close out my account and I know she needs the money for the campaign so I donated it to her,” Harder said.

Harder, a Republican, said he intends to make an endorsement in the race in the coming months, but declined to indicate a preference.

Newcomb said she switched her voter registration to run as Democrat after Broome County Republicans largely coalesced around State Senator Fred Akshar (R-52). Akshar served as Harder’s undersheriff for several years before running for State Senate. He announced he would not seek reelection in 2022 in order to run for sheriff.

“Fred Akshar is humbled and grateful for the overwhelming support he’s received from the hundreds of community members who have contributed their time and money to the Akshar For Sheriff campaign since he first announced his candidacy,” Akshar’s campaign manager, Emmanuel Priest, wrote in a statement. “They believe Fred Akshar is the best candidate to move the Sheriff’s Office forward and help build a safer community for Broome County families and we believe the voters of Broome County agree. Sheriff Harder is free to contribute to whomever he’d like.”

Akshar raised significantly more cash than Newcomb in 2021, ending the year with almost $146,000 cash-on-hand.

Newcomb said she’s trying to avoid focusing on Akshar.

“I’m not paying attention to my opponent and what he’s doing. I’m just laser focused on my own campaign moving forward. I’m not letting myself get distracted by that stuff,” Newcomb said.

Newcomb currently serves as a captain in the sheriff’s department’s highway patrol division.