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Onondaga County District Attorney candidate Charles Keller on the Campbell Conversations

WRVO Public Media
Charles keller is running for Onondaga County District Attorney against longtime incumbent Bill Fitzpatrick

For 28 years, Bill Fitzpatrick has been Onondaga County's District Attorney, facing relatively little challenge in his last seven elections. Hoping to change that this November is Charles Keller, a Democrat and Syracuse-based defense attorney. This week, Keller speaks with Grant Reeher on why he's running against Fitzpatrick, and to describe the changes he'd make in the criminal justice system if elected. 

A Note of Explanation From Campbell Conversations Host Grant Reeher

Why is this an individual interview rather than a debate?

We issued invitations to participate in a debate to DA Bill Fitzpatrick and to Mr. Keller on August 27th.  Leading up to that date, we did an analysis of the race, seeking to determine whether we should include third-party candidate Gary Lavine in the invitation.  A half-hour broadcast is a limited amount of time, and we want to provide the most relevant information that we can for our listeners. 

As of August 27th, we determined  that there was little evidence of an active campaign on behalf of Mr. Lavine’s own election, using the traditional markers for that activity.  We also floated that conclusion by two independent observers of local politics.  As a result of that process we went forward with invitations to Mr. Fitzpatrick and Mr. Keller.

We also informed each of them that should only one candidate agree to participate in the debate, we would go forward with an individual interview of that candidate.  This is a practice that we have followed on this program in past debates, involving other races.  Unfortunately, Mr. Keller ultimately declined our invitation, and so, as we said to both candidates, we went forward with an individual interview of District Attorney Fitzpatrick, which aired on October 12.

Grant Reeher is Director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute and a professor of political science at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He is also creator, host and program director of “The Campbell Conversations” on WRVO, a weekly regional public affairs program featuring extended in-depth interviews with regional and national writers, politicians, activists, public officials, and business professionals.