Carnright’s out: Ulster DA says he won’t run for a fourth term

Holley Carnright. (Esther Joy/

District Attorney Holley Carnright announced today that he would not seek a fourth four-year term in office. Instead, the long-serving DA has endorsed his chief assistant, Michael J. Kavanagh to succeed him.

“I have known for many years a day would come when, if I am lucky, I’ll reach a point where I am offered a choice to select a different path,” Carnright wrote in a press release. “I have reached that point and look forward to new challenges that await me after the conclusion of my term.”

Carnright, 65, has served as Ulster County’s district attorney since 2008. He was most recently re-elected in 2015, running on the Republican, Conservative and Independence party lines. During his tenure, Carnright has committed resources to combating domestic violence, beefed up the office’s investigative arm and helped establish the countywide Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Team. In the press release, Carnright praised the team of assistants and investigators he had assembled as “champions of justice” who would continue to zealously prosecute wrongdoers while protecting the rights of all citizens.


In his statement, Carnright expressed hope that Kavanagh, who has served as chief assistant district attorney for four years, would enter the race to succeed him in office. Kavanagh is the son of former Ulster County DA and state Supreme Court judge E. Michael Kavanagh.

So far, the only candidate to enter the DA’s race is Kingston trial attorney Dave Clegg. Clegg, who ran unsuccessfully in last year’s Democratic primary for the 19th Congressional District, is running as a reformer and has pledged to bring principles of restorative justice and a focus on rehabilitation to the DA’s job.