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  • Writer's pictureHudson Power Broker Staff

Dutchess DA Race A Donnybrook

February 17, 2023

The last time the Dutchess County District Attorney was not named Grady, Michael Jackson’s Thriller had just dropped, there was a Cabbage Patch Kids shortage and Return of the Jedi was in theaters. In 1983 William V. Grady was elected Dutchess County District Attorney. He was sworn into office in 1984, beginning a four-decade tenure as the county’s top prosecutor. Grady is not running for reelection this November, and the race to replace has already become a donnybrook.

The Republican establishment’s choice is Grady’s right hand man, Chief Assistant District Attorney Matt Weishaupt, who is regarded as the next in line. Grady raised eyebrows recently when he told Democrat Anthony Parisi, the office’s Violent Crimes Bureau Chief, that he would have to resign if he ran for DA against Weishaupt. Grady reasoned a race between Weishaupt and Parisi would cause discord in the office, but later backtracked. He told, “It was something I said impulsively to Mr. Parisi and even then began to have reservations for having said it.” Grady subsequently issued guidance for DA employees running for office.

Some Republicans are worried that Grady’s actions combined with Weishaupt’s lack of campaign experience and name recognition will make the race difficult for him. There is also concern that a weak Republican DA candidate could hurt likely Republican County Executive candidate Sue Serino and incumbent County Clerk Brad Kendall. Both are likely to be on the ballot this year.

Republicans dissatisfied with Weishaupt have been looking for another DA candidate. Sources tell that former Comptroller Jim Coughlin, former Poughkeepsie City Court Judge Thomas O’Neill, former Beacon City Court Judge Timothy Pagones and sitting East Fishkill Court Judge Brian Rudner have all been approached by Republicans about running. Meanwhile, local Celebrity lawyer Jonna Spilbor has also been in the conversation.

The GOP insiders are pushing hard for Weishaupt. Establishment darling Congressman Marc Molinaro, who no longer lives in nor represents Dutchess County, put out a glowing endorsement of Weishaupt praising his work and that of the Dutchess County DA’s office.

Many in law enforcement and the legal community are not happy with the DA’s office under Grady. They perceive Republican Weishaupt and Democrat Parisi as extensions of the Grady regime because they hold senior positions in it. Criticism of the DA’s office include unwarranted leniency, disorganization, lack of communication with police departments, ineffective communication with the public and poor training and oversight of new Assistant District Attorneys.

Also seeking the Democrat nomination is Senior Putnam County Assistant District Attorney Larry Glaser, a resident of Fishkill. Glaser successfully prosecuted Nicole Addimando for the murder of her husband Christopher Grover in 2019. The case drew national headlines because Addimando claimed she was the victim of brutality by Grover and acting in self-defense, though she shot him while he was sleeping.

Both the Republican and Democrat Committees will have their nominating conventions on February 23rd. However, a candidate not nominated can petition on to the ballot and force a primary which would be held in June.

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