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Dumas shuns idea of GOP primary for St. Lawrence DA

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CANTON — A Malone defense attorney who made waves as a potential candidate for St. Lawrence County district attorney said he does not want to see a Republican primary battle in the race.

“I feel that a primary would put both the potential Republican candidates at a disadvantage compared with the Democrat candidate,” Peter A. Dumas wrote Thursday in a letter to county Republican Chairman Thomas L. Jenison and the party’s county committee.

Former St. Lawrence County Public Defender Mary E. Rain, a Republican, in March announced her plan to run for the post against two-term Democratic incumbent Nicole M. Duvé, who said she “absolutely” plans to seek a third term.

Mr. Dumas, who lives and works in Malone, Franklin County, confirmed last month that he had spoken with both the Conservative and Republican parties about a potential run. But Mr. Dumas had not formally announced his candidacy, nor had he received the blessing of any party, saying only that he was “testing the waters.”

Mr. Dumas emailed a reporter a copy of his letter Thursday afternoon, but efforts to reach him for further comment were not successful.

In the letter, Mr. Dumas wrote that he had considered his position on several issues following a previous meeting with the county Republican Committee. He said he “cannot and will not vilify” either Ms. Duvé or St. Lawrence County Judge Jerome J. Richards, another Democrat.

It was not clear why Mr. Dumas mentioned the judge in a letter regarding the district attorney’s race, nor where the idea of vilifying either of them arose.

Both Ms. Rain and Mr. Jenison said the party had no platform calling for vilification of Ms. Duvé or anyone else, and both expressed surprise at Mr. Dumas’s mention of the judge’s name. Ms. Rain said she plans to run against Ms. Duvé’s record, but had no intention of engaging in personal attacks.

Contacted Thursday evening, Ms. Duvé said she had not yet seen the letter and declined comment until she could read it.

“I take issue with the way that the district attorney’s office is run in St. Lawrence County, but this is mostly because I feel that (Ms. Duvé) tries to shoulder too much of the burden herself,” Mr. Dumas wrote.

“I cannot speculate with regard to the reason for this. I believe that she is a good person, and that she is trying to do the morally right thing, however, I believe that she is trying to do this in a way that is not successful,” he wrote.

Mr. Dumas went on to refer to Judge Richards, a former district attorney, as “fair and thoughtful,” adding that he “would revert the office to the model that (Judge Richards) used as the district attorney were I put in that position.”

“That letter is a mystery. ... It’s not our position at all,” Ms. Rain said.

“Bluntly, if the Republicans want a primary, then they already have their candidate,” Mr. Dumas wrote.

Mr. Jenison said he did not understand the meaning of that sentence, adding that he knows of at least one other person who is considering running as a Republican, although he declined to name the person. As a matter of policy, Mr. Jenison said, the party will not endorse a candidate for any post if that person faces a primary challenge within the party.

He said the party harbored no reservations about Mr. Dumas and remained perplexed by the letter.

“He is a worthy person. I do believe he would represent the Republicans well, just as Mary Rain would,” Mr. Jenison said.

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