DA Candidates Debate; Vance Has Gotbaum, Edge

We're getting close enough to elections that local political clubs are sizing up candidates. We covered a VID club meet-and-grill earlier, at which Manhattan DA candidate Leslie Crocker Snyder defended her evolution on the death penalty. The subject came up again at last night's debate among the candidates, at which candidate Richard Aborn pushed Snyder hard on the issue, leading to what they call in these cases a spirited exchange. Snyder also pointed out that she was running for the post before Morgenthau decided to quit, showing how sincere she is about reforming it. Holding a great advantage at the moment is the third candidate, Cyrus Vance Jr. (pictured), who has received the only big endorsement thus far, that of public advocate Betsy Gotbaum. He is also said to be Morgenthau's choice, though he has not said so yet. (Morgenthau has called Snyder "unqualified.")

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