A little over three weeks from now, Darcel Clark will almost certainly win election as the next Bronx District Attorney. That is despite the fact she has done little voter outreach and made few public statements, at least until now. In her first TV interview, Clark spoke exclusively to NY1’s Bobby Cuza about her candidacy and the controversy surrounding her nomination. He filed the following report.
Unknown to most Bronx voters, Darcel Clark is likely the next Bronx District Attorney, thanks to a controversial maneuver set in motion by current DA Robert Johnson.
After winning an uncontested primary last month, Johnson abruptly announced he was instead seeking a judgeship. The timing meant that rather than a primary, Bronx Democratic party leaders could handpick his replacement on the ballot.
They chose Clark, an appeals court judge who says this was no backroom deal. She says she never made it a secret Bronx DA was her dream job.
“I can’t say what made the Bronx Democratic party select me,” she said. “I know that I have the qualifications to do the job, and people knowing that I always wanted to do it if a vacancy came up.”
A self-described daughter of the Bronx, Clark was raised in the Soundview Houses, and attended Boston College and Howard University Law.
“I was the first in my family to go to college, and when I went to Boston College, it was the first time I’d left the Bronx,” she said.
Clark worked 13 years in the DA’s office before becoming a judge. Though light on specific proposals, she promises to address violence at Rikers Island and the Bronx’s notorious court backlog.
As to her ties to Bronx Democrats like Carl Heastie, whom she swore in as Assembly Speaker, Clark says she has already demonstrated her independence.
“On at least two occasions, I ruled against them – the panel that I was on – as far as election appeals in the Bronx,” Clark said. “So if I was their flunky, that would have never happened.”
While the Democratic nominee is generally a lock to win in the overwhelmingly Democratic Bronx, Clark, it turns out, does have an opponent. That is because DA Johnson was running not only on the Democratic line, but also those of the Republican and Conservative parties, which last weekend picked their replacement for Johnson on the ballot.
His name is Robert Siano – a former court attorney and lawyer for the city’s Administration for Children’s Services.
“We’re going to do everything we can to let the Bronx people know that there is another choice that they can vote for on the 3rd,” Siano said.