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Rain unseats Duve in St. Lawrence DA race


OGDENSBURG — At the end of a long, deeply emotional campaign for St. Lawrence County district attorney, challenger and unofficial winner Mary E. Rain said she is “absolutely glad to have it over with.”

“What can you say about a victory? It’s wonderful,” Ms. Rain, a Republican who also ran on the Conservative and Independence Party lines, said late Tuesday at her campaign party. Ms. Rain, who campaigned on her more than 25 years’ experience as a police officer, public defender and prosecutor, won with 51.8 percent of the vote in unofficial results reported by the county Board of Elections.

District Attorney Nicole M. Duve, a two-term Democrat who took 48 percent of the vote, said it was too early to concede the election.

The race was marked by attacks on Ms. Duve’s record. Ms. Rain, saying her opponent didn’t appear interested in engaging with voters, attributed the outcome to her “opponent’s aloofness.”

“I don’t think she was very active in the campaign as far as having the public join in with her,” Ms. Rain said. “I tried to include the public as much as I could with my campaign, and it seemed that she just isolated herself from the public.”

Throughout the campaign, Ms. Rain painted Mrs. Duve’s time in office as ineffective, disorganized and incompetent. She promised to fast-track felony prosecutions and improve cooperation among law enforcement agencies.

Ms. Duve, who was trailing by 695 votes by the time all precincts reported, said she was still hopeful that the tide can turn in her favor when absentee ballots are counted.

The Board of Elections reported that 1,588 absentee ballots had been sent out and 1,085 returned so far. They will be opened Nov. 15.

“We have been up and down all night,” Ms. Duve said. “We’ll continue to be hopeful and keep fighting the good fight.”

Ms. Duve said the race that left her and her campaign staff unsure what the turnout would be.

“I’m not surprised. We did all we could,” she said. “We’re just going to have to wait and see how it turns out.”

Ms. Duve’s husband and campaign manager, William J. Mitchell, said he was proud of the kind of campaign his wife ran and the work put into it.

“Our family worked hard at this campaign,” Mr. Mitchell said. “It’s disappointing. I guess we will just have to wait and see how the absentee ballots turn out.”

Celebrating the unofficial election results, Ms. Rain said that on day one of her time in office, “I’m going to gather up all the open, pending felonies and see where we are on those.”

While she isn’t sure what her first major case will be, Ms. Rain said she hopes to get to work immediately on helping the family of Garrett J. Phillips, the 12-year old Potsdam boy who was murdered in 2011, find justice.

“I have four years ahead of me,” she said, “and that starts tomorrow. No time to rest.”

Ms. Rain said she plans to keep some of the members of Ms. Duve’s staff on board “so that there’s some continuity in the office.”

She added that she expects that continuity will help her hit the ground running Jan. 1.

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