Two area attorneys vie in DA race
DELAVAN They know that their predecessor has cast a huge shadow over the position they both covet. However, Dan Necci and Steve Harvey say they’re the man for the job and welcome the myriad challenges involved should the title and the task become theirs.
Longtime Walworth County District Attorney Phil Koss was sworn in last week as the Branch I circuit court judge, replacing retiring Judge Robert Kennedy.
(Read all of this week's stories from Walworth County Sunday HERE. )
On Aug. 14, the Republican primary race will decide whether it’s Necci or Harvey who earns the job of replacing the well-respected Koss. That’s because no Democrats are on the ballot, virtually assuring the GOP primary winner gets the nod in the November election.
Necci is a Delavan attorney with the Elkhorn firm Seymour, Kremer, Koch and Lochowicz. He ran unsuccessfully against Tyler August for the 32nd state Assembly seat in 2010.
Harvey has been an attorney in the county for 18 years and is a partner in the Delavan firm of Wassel, Harvey & Schuk. He has acted as a prosecutor for five municipalities.
Still, both foes must overcome the fact that neither of them has come up through the district attorney office ranks, raising concerns in some circles as to their experience in taking over as the county’s leading prosecutor.
“Neither of us has a lot of criminal jury trial background, but of the two of us, I have far more than my opponent,” said Harvey, 45, an Illinois native who has practiced in Walworth County since 1994. “I’ve prosecuted a lot of municipal cases, many of which have overlapped with the D.A.’s office, including battery, disorderly conduct and lots of OWI cases. And my opponent has never handled a criminal jury trial.”
Necci, 33, acknowledged that he doesn’t have Harvey’s experience, but he said that’s different than not being qualified for the job.
“It’s a fact that I’ve never been a prosecutor, but I didn’t set out to be a D.A.,” said Necci, who like Harvey graduated from Marquette Law School. “I approached the senior bar association, I spoke to judges and law enforcement personnel, people who’ve seen me in action on a professional level, and they said with a resounding yes that I should run, because they trust and know that I can do the job.”
One thing the winner will need to address after moving into his new chair will be criticism from some corners about how many cases involve plea bargains versus how many go to trial.
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