Ferguson endorses Newell in campaign
Nevada County District Attorney Michael Ferguson, who is retiring at the end of the year, has endorsed Deputy D.A. Clifford Newell as his successor, he said Friday.
“I think Cliff’s the best person for the job,” Ferguson said when asked why he made the endorsement so early in the campaign. Monday is the first day that candidates can file papers to register as a candidate. The election will be held June 6.
Two other people have announced their interest in running, and last month took out the preliminary paperwork needed to gather signatures for their candidacy: fellow Deputy District Attorney James Phillips and defense lawyer David Silber of Nevada City.
Phillips said he had no comment on Ferguson’s announcement. Silber said he remains committed to running, and that his candidacy would broaden the choices available to voters.
“I’m surprised that Mike would endorse one of his deputies over another, especially given that Jim has been in the county 11 years and has been in the D.A.’s office the whole time,” Silber said. “Cliff has been in the county, but he has only been in the D.A.’s office for four years.”
Ferguson’s endorsement came Thursday evening at a kick-off for Newell’s campaign, held at the Stonehouse Restaurant in Nevada City.
At the event, Ferguson cited the qualities he believes make for a good district attorney: integrity, patience, courage, determination, being able to relate to other people, willingness to work long hours when necessary and the ability to target which criminal cases to pursue.
“In the time I have seen Cliff Newell as a Deputy D.A. in my office, I have seen all those qualities in him,” Ferguson told the crowd. “That’s why I’m here tonight.”
Newell said the gathering was attended by about 100 supporters, including several fellow deputies from the prosecutor’s office, other courthouse and law enforcement employees, business people and campaign volunteers.
Ferguson also wrote Newell’s campaign a check for $500; supporters donated a total of about $3,000 during the event, Newell said.
Candidates have until Feb. 23 to file signatures they gather in support of their campaign, and until March 10 to register as a candidate.
To contact staff writer Trina Kleist, e-mail trinak@theunion .com or call 477-4231.
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