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Race for Rockland DA pits former judge against retired Army lieutenant colonelPosted: Updated:
The Rockland County district attorney race is getting lots of attention in this year’s election cycle.
The race pits former Judge Tom Walsh and civil rights attorney and retired Army Lt. Col. Mike Diederich.
Walsh, the better-known and perhaps more controversial candidate has all three party endorsements – Democrat, Republican and Conservative. He also has the large ultra-Orthodox bloc vote in Ramapo.
Walsh says he won't be beholden to special interests, even the one that could catapult him into office.
“I'm very fortunate that as a candidate for district attorney…I have one district and that district is Rockland County, he told News 12.
But Diederich, an Independent running on the Serve Rockland Party line, worries Walsh will turn a blind eye to what Diederich calls the county's biggest problem: housing violations and other corruption in Ramapo.
“He will be inclined to look the other way because special interests do not want people looking at the non-transparency in land use decision making in Ramapo,” says Diederich.
Illegal housing in Ramapo has already been confirmed by an investigation out of Albany led by state Sen. James Skoufis. When News 12 asked Walsh about the town's corruption woes, he said he doesn't know if there's even an issue to begin with.
“You're giving me a conclusionary statement that a problem exists. As a district attorney, we would need facts. If Sen. Skoufis or anyone else comes forward with factual evidence, we would certainly investigate,” says Walsh.
Voters in Rockland will also see state Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski on the ballot for DA under the Working Families Party. He told News 12 that he stopped campaigning in June after losing the Democratic primary.
Whoever wins the race will fill the seat vacated by Thomas Zugibe, who left the office this year to become a state Supreme Court judge.