Contentious GOP Broome DA Race Nears End

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VESTAL, NY (WSKG) — Republican voters in Broome County head to the polls Tuesday to select a candidate for District Attorney.

Mike Korchak – Mike Korchak For DA/Youtube

Mike Korchak has spent the last few years in the District Attorney’s office as Chief Assistant DA. The office has focused on the overdose deaths that have plagued Broome over the last decade.

Overall, 911 overdose calls have trended down in Broome County, but there was a recent spike. There were more calls for overdoses in the first three months of this year compared to the same time in 2018, according to the DA’s office. Those numbers have come down in the last couple months. “We addressed the problem. Educated individuals in the community and that has gotten back down to the levels that we anticipated,” Korchak said.

Korchak’s opponent is Paul Battisti. He runs a private practice in Binghamton and did not respond to multiple requests from WSKG for an interview.

Battisti has said he’ll go after drug dealers hard. “Over the past few years I’ve attended far too many funerals as a result of the heroin and opioid epidemic,” said Battisti in an ad posted to his Facebook page. “Things have to change. The current district attorney’s office is too soft on crime.”

Battisti has the endorsement of the Broome County Sheriff and State Senator Fred Akshar, while Korchak is supported by former Binghamton Mayor Rich Bucci.

Gabe Altieri/WSKG

Broome DA candidate Paul Battisti. Gabe Altieri/WSKG

Both Korchak and Battisti have attacked each other personally.

For example, Battisti went after Korchak for allegedly filing a false indictment. There have even been attacks on their supporters.

Korchak called out Akshar, who’s a vocal supporter of Battisti. It’s alleged, Akshar had an intimate relationship with the mother of a murder victim.

Akshar called the relationship brief and consensual and says Korchak acted politically. Korchak disagrees.

“I’m not going directly after Mr. Akshar,” he said. “We want to make sure there are safeguards in place, rules and regulations, codes of conduct, to make sure that this never happens again.”

Polls today are open from noon until 9 PM.