Democrat Darcel Clark will be the new district attorney in the Bronx. She replaces outgoing DA Robert Johnson, who dropped out of the race in a controversial maneuver in September. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
From childhood, through her distinguished career as a prosecutor, then a judge who moved up the ranks to the appellate division, Darcel Clark said her lifelong dream was to become the Bronx's first female district attorney. On Tuesday, Bronx voters granted her wish.
"It's been a dream that I've had since I was a young girl growing up in the Soundview projects," she said. "The Bronx was, is, and always will be my home."
Clark became the Democrat nominee less than six weeks ago, when the current DA, Robert Johnson, abruptly announced he was abandoning his re-election bid and seeking a judgeship. Because Johnson had already won the primary, that meant Bronx Democratic Party leaders could handpick his replacement, essentially cutting voters out of the process.
Clark benefitted from her ties to powerful Bronx Democrats like state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who introduced her Tuesday night.
"If you look at her resume, I don't think you could come up with a better reusme for anyone who wanted to run for judge, for district attorney," Heastie said.
Surrounded by family, friends and supporters, including a number of Bronx elected officials, Clark laid out her vision for the office, which includes eliminating a notorious case backlog and ensuring speedier trials.
District Attorney Johnson was not here Tuesday night. Clark did not refer to him directly, but she did elude to some of the perceived shortcomings of his office, saying, for instance, that under her watch, there would be no more ignoring of the problems at Rikers Island.
"Today, we turn the page, and I aim to move this office forward with new levels of accountability and responsiveness we have not seen in the Bronx before," Clark said.
Clark easily beat out Republican and Conservative Party candidate Robert Siano, and indeed barely had to mount a campaign. On Tuesday, she promised change and steadfast justice.
"Tomorrow is going to be a new day in the Bronx," she said.