BREAKING NEWS: Robert Siano, Republican Challenger for Bronx District Attorney Has Checkered Voting History

Robert Siano

Robert Siano

Robert Siano, Bronx Republican Challenger for Bronx District Attorney Has Spotty Voting History

On the eve of the one and only forum for the two candidates squaring off for Bronx District Attorney, the Bronx Chronicle has learned that GOP candidate Robert D. Siano has only voted twice in the past eleven years. And that Siano failed to cast votes when he was on the ballot as a judicial candidate in 2013 and 2014.

Next week’s election for Bronx District Attorney has been marred by criticism of a political process that enabled the Bronx Democratic party organization to handpick Judge Darcel D. Clark to replace Robert Johnson on the ballot in the general election so that he could seek a State Supreme Court judgeship.

The usually anemic Bronx Republican Party hoped to use the controversy to lift their electoral fortunes and ride public anger to an upset victory. Now, it turns out that their handpicked candidate attorney Robert Siano –who only became a Republican six years ago– has only voted twice in the past decade, 2004 and in 2012.  And not even for himself when he was twice a judicial candidate in the past two years.

The Wall Street Journal reported that in 2014, Mr. Siano ran unsuccessfully for a Bronx civil court judgeship and where garnered 10% of the votes. In 2013, Mr. Siano earned 3% of the votes in a bid to become a state Supreme Court justice.

Reached for comment, Siano said that he wasn’t politically involved until 2009 when he enrolled in the Republican party. “I didn’t vote in the Bronx because I lived in Brooklyn when I worked for ACS (Administration for Children’s Services).”

When questioned about not casting votes when he was on the ballot in 2013 and 2014, he said he already booked a vacation when he was nominated in 2013. “No, I didn’t get an absentee ballot,” he said. Siano said he couldn’t recall the circumstances of his missing his opportunity to for himself last year.

“I’m not making any excuses. I wasn’t really politically involved when I was younger but I’ve grown to realize that one person, one vote can make a difference,” said Siano. He disclosed that at age 18, he voted for President Bill Clinton in 1996 but that his political views now align with the Republican party.

Darcel D. Clark

Darcel D. Clark

Clark, a recent Appellate Court Justice, has voted in all city, state and federal elections since 1989. Records indicate that she voted in primary, general and even, special elections over the last twenty-five years. And she has been a lifelong Democrat.

When questioned about the process by which she received the Democratic nomination, Clark told the New York Times, “I didn’t create the process.” “I’ve been asked to serve. I think it’s a very important job to do, and I have the qualifications to do it.”

Late last week, NY1 News reported that Judge Clark played a role in the case of Kalief Browder, a Bronx youth who committed suicide earlier this year after he had been held at Rikers Island for three years without trial. Clark told anchor Errol Louis she couldn’t recall presiding over the Browder case but believes that lessons can be learned from it. She has proposed a plan to improve operations and to reduce case backlogs through structural changes and increased accountability.

Mr. Siano has campaigned on a platform of independence and justice, and the strength to fight crime and to clean up The Bronx.

In the same Wall Street Journal story, it was revealed that Mr. Siano’s law partner at his White Plains law firm was Matthew Libous, the son of former Republican state Sen. Thomas Libous. Matthew Libous was convicted in January on tax fraud charges unrelated to his law practice with Mr. Siano, and is currently serving a six-month sentence in federal prison. In July, former Sen. Libous was convicted of lying to federal agents about his efforts to secure Matthew Libous a job with a Westchester-based law firm.

Pundits say that as a Republican, Mr. Siano faces a steep challenge in a borough where Democratic party enrollment is eleven times greater. In the Bronx, there is no Republicans currently holding elected office. The late state senator Guy Velella was the last GOP elected official.

Perhaps, Mr. Siano will cast a vote for himself this year.

Tonight’s Bronx DA Candidate Forum at St. Paul’s Church in Parkchester, 1891 McGraw Avenue (Virginia Avenue) begins at 7pm. Robert Siano is confirmed while Judge Clark will attend a previously scheduled town hall event at Eastwood Manor sponsored by North East Bronx Civic Organizations. .

 

This post has been edited to correctly state that Judge Clark attended a previously scheduled North East Bronx town hall meeting instead of the Discovery for Justice forum at St. Paul’s Church in Parkchester. The fundraising event is this Thursday, October 29 at the Eastwood Manor. We apologize for the error. 

 

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