UPDATED 6/4/21 — 7:52 P.M.
BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) — Binghamton Mayor Rich David said he was “very interested” in running to represent New York’s 52nd Senate District in a statement on Friday. His announcement comes a day after State Senator Fred Akshar (R-52) announced he will not seek reelection to his senate seat in 2022 so he can instead run for Broome County Sheriff.
David, who is in his second and final term as mayor due to term limits, said he formed an exploratory committee for the state senate seat and plans to make a formal announcement in the coming weeks.
“The opportunity to serve in the New York State Senate would allow me to continue my commitment to the people of Binghamton, and work for the residents of Broome, Chenango, Delaware, and Tioga counties,” David said.
Akshar told WSKG that he encouraged David to make those moves, but won’t formally endorse him yet.
“I think that’s the right thing to do, but I think you will see a more formal decision from him in the coming months,” Akshar said, “but I think Mayor David’s done a remarkable job.”
David also endorsed Akshar for sheriff.
The 52nd Senate District spans part of Broome, Tioga, Chenango and Delaware Counties.
Broome County Sheriff David Harder is the only sheriff of the four counties who has not endorsed Akshar and was not present during Akshar’s announcement on Thursday.
The state senator said he expects the sheriff will remain quiet on the race.
“While I am incredibly grateful for all of the opportunities that he has provided to me in my professional career under his leadership, the sheriff, I think, is going to sit this particular race out,” Akshar said.
Harder will retire at the end of his current term.
Akshar spent most of his professional career in law enforcement. He was previously Broome County Undersheriff.
In 2019, Akshar faced calls to resign from the state senate after a woman accused him of sexually taking advantage of her grief while he was investigating her son’s murder years earlier. Akshar claimed the encounter was consensual and that he had not violated any department policies.*
When asked about the mainstreaming of messages to defund the police, Akshar said law enforcement is at a crossroads.
“I think you can be unapologetic in terms of your support, but you also have to have a willingness to listen and communicate with people who may feel differently about any one given topic,” he said.
The Republican is running with five policy priorities: fiscal responsibility, community policing, reentry programming, public safety and transparency.
The state senator said reentry programming for people incarcerated at the Broome County jail has not been as robust as it possibly could be, and that increasing options would be a priority if elected.
“It is my position that if one finds themselves incarcerated, for whatever reason it may be, that, as the sheriff, we are providing the best programming we possibly can to the man or woman who finds themselves incarcerated so they can get their life back on track,” the Republican added.
Multiple media outlets report that Captain Kate Newcomb of the Broome County Sheriff’s Office is also considering a run for sheriff on the Republican ticket. Akshar and Newcomb had at one point been in a relationship.
In Binghamton, David’s Executive Assistant, Jared Kraham, entered the race on the Republican ticket earlier this year. Binghamton City Council member Joe Burns, a Democrat, announced his bid for mayor in March.
*This story was updated for clarity.