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Franklin County attorney mulls entering St. Lawrence County DA race


Defense attorney Peter A. Dumas is the third potential candidate in the race for St. Lawrence County district attorney.

“I’m testing the waters. I went and talked to the Conservatives this morning,” he said Sunday. “I spoke to the Republicans a little bit, but not recently.”

Mr. Dumas has not announced his candidacy, and he is not yet backed by any party. If he runs, he will go up against District Attorney Nicole M. Duvé, a Democrat, and former St. Lawrence County public defender Mary E. Rain, a Republican who revealed her intention to run in March.

Mr. Dumas is not from St. Lawrence County; he lives and works in Malone, in Franklin County. His experience has taken him throughout the region, he said.

“I like to look at myself as a north country boy,” he said.

Mr. Dumas has bachelor’s degrees in political science from SUNY Oswego and environmental science from SUNY Plattsburgh, and his law degree is from Pace University Law School, White Plains, north of Manhattan. He has been practicing law for 12 years and has had his own practice for seven.

Mr. Dumas has known Ms. Duvé for his entire law career and hesitated to run.

“She’s been a really good friend for a really long time,” he said. “But I really fear for that office right now. I know things are rough in St. Lawrence County.”

He criticized the way the office handles cases. They are dismissed too easily and do not move through the system quickly enough, creating a backup, he said.

“There needs to be a real close look at how they can move a little smoother,” he said.

All the candidates are seeking the Conservative Party’s endorsement. Mr. Dumas and Ms. Duvé met with party leaders Sunday; Ms. Rain met with them several weeks ago.

Party Chairman Henry R. Ford said the talks have been informal.

“We will have an interview session in May sometime,” he said.

After the interviews, the party willendorse someone.

Ms. Duvé said it is too soon to guess what the party will do, especially because Mr. Dumas has not announced his candidacy.

“I can’t predict what any particular group of people may or may not do,” she said.

“I have a lot of experience, with an office this size and a caseload this size, helping the people of the county,” she said.

Ms. Rain said the news of his potential candidacy came as a sudden shift.

“Pete had expressed interest a while ago, but he also told everyone that he wasn’t going to run,” she said. “I’m actually kind of surprised to hear that now he’s met with the Conservatives. I don’t know what has changed his mind.”

She also said he would not be the best choice for St. Lawrence County because of his Franklin County residency and his lack of prosecuting experience.

As for her campaign efforts, “I think it’s been very positive,” she said. “I’ve been out campaigning with several different organizations.”

If Mr. Dumas and Ms. Rain seek the Republican nomination, a primary may be held in September.

Mr. Dumas acknowledged the race would be challenging.

“It’s kind of a daunting prospect to get involved in something like this with people like Nicole and Mary. They are both accomplished attorneys,” he said.

He compared the election to a trial. Even though he respects the opposing attorneys, he still has to do what he can to win.

“I just hope I come out the winner at the end of this trial,” he said.

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