Nevada County District Attorney Cliff Newell — running for his third term in office — invoked the specter of child murder victim Polly Klaas at his campaign kick-off Thursday night.
“I’m here to protect you from the Richard Davises of the world,” he said, referring to the man who kidnapped and strangled the Petaluma girl in 1993, a case that garnered worldwide media attention.
Newell was first elected to the post in 2006 and was unopposed in 2010.
This time around, he faces Nevada City attorney David Alkire.
A crowd of supporters were on hand at the Ol’ Republic Brewery in Nevada City as Newell repeatedly stressed the theme of public safety.
Former District Attorney Mike Ferguson — whom Newell succeeded — introduced him, and Nevada Joint Union High School District board member Jim Adams wrapped up the appeal, telling the crowd he was going to start the donations off with his check.
Newell pointed to budget cuts and realignment as top issues for his office, saying, “We’ve survived and, I believe, excelled … Nevada County remains one of the safest (counties) in the state.”
Realignment is a serious public safety concern, Newell said, telling his audience that it has created a “pool of criminal elements” within the county.
“Someone has to stand tough, and in front,” he said.
Newell said that Klaas’ murder is what started him on the track to become an attorney and a criminal prosecutor, saying, “It had an emotional and visceral effect on me.”
Dealing with realignment is working in this county because of the good working relationships between law enforcement, probation, and his office, Newell said.
“That, coupled with my experience, makes me uniquely qualified,” he said. “I will keep your safety as my primary focus.
“I’m willing to lead the way, I really am,” Newell concluded. “But I need your help, your support … And most of all, what I need from you is to vote for me.”
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4229.