The Broome County District Attorney's Office will welcome a new leader in 2020.
For one of the candidates, the new office would be just down the hall. Current chief assistant district attorney Mike Korchak, who has been a prosecutor for 21 years, leaned on his experience.
"If you haven’t been a trial attorney consistently for years, you'll never know what goes into the evaluation of a case, meeting with victims, meeting with law enforcement. I've done these things on a daily basis for 21 years," said Korchak.
On the other side, a 14-year defense attorney Paul Battisti said he believes his skills working in the criminal justice system could aid him.
Battisti says the job of district attorney isn't merely in the courtroom.
"It's an individual, it's a leader, a supervisor, a manager, an individual that puts together the appropriate teams, and individual that educates, an individual that insures we're doing everything we can to reduce overdose deaths, to reduce rising crime rates," said Battisti.
The third candidate is long-time attorney Debra Gelson. She was previously district attorney in Monmouth County, and worked internationally as a judge. Her opponents have criticized her for not being homegrown.
She says that can actually be a benefit.
"I believe that it's actually an advantage. It brings to the job the experiences I had actually running a successful program to rehabilitate addicted women, and their children, provide them with all types of collaborative resources including housing," said Gelson.
Gelson directed one of the first sex crimes and child abuse units in the state. She plans to expand the special victims unit and bring in more advocacies for victims.
"We have a responsibility to our victims to help them, we have a responsibility to help them not only survive but thrive, because all in all that is not only the best interest of the victim, but the community," said Gelson.
Battisti says one of his top goals is establishing a mental health treatment court. He also claims there's a lack of leadership in the current office.
"Our two top leaders are out campaigning all the time. We're seeing numerous individuals leaving the district attorney's office on a monthly basis. I think since 2017, 10 [assistant] district attorneys have left the district attorney's office. That's not good. That's not good for teamwork," said Battisti.
Korchak counters saying his administration has had tremendous success.
"The current administration that I've been a part of for the past four years has reduced crime 20 percent overall in Broome County. We've got more individuals in drug treatment court than ever before and we're sending more drug dealers to prison," said Korchak.
Current District Attorney Steve Cornwell decided not to run for re-election. He is currently seeking the Republican nomination for Congress in the 22nd District.