Tonkin to run as a Democrat

| 23 Jul 2015 | 12:52

By Nathan Mayberg
Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin announced this week that he will continue his campaign for re-election — on the Democratic line.

Tonkin, a registered Republican, lost the GOP primary in May to local attorney Kelly Gaughan, 2,168-1,978.

The Friends of Ray Tonkin announced his decision to run and referred to Tonkin's write-in win among Democrats. He received 465 Democratic write-in votes in the May primary. Gaughan received 352 write-in votes from Democrats.

Tonkin said by email Thursday that he will remain a registered Republican.

Tonkin has been district attorney for the seven years and has worked for the Pike County District Attorney's Office since 1999.

"My career has been spent prosecuting criminals, and standing up on behalf of victims to ensure justice is done," said the press release announcing his candidacy. "They know, based on performance, that I am dedicated to equal justice for all, with no political agenda of my own. They know that as a prosecutor I am always guided by the ethical principle of ‘doing the right thing, for the right reason.’”

The press release refers to successful prosecutions by Tonkin — of a drugged driver who killed a 20-year-old woman, of a nurses' aide charged with sexually assaulting an elderly woman, of a double murder in Greentown in which an infant and her teenaged mother were killed.

“My career has been spent protecting all the people of Pike County," he stated. "The job of Pike County’s District Attorney is beyond partisan politics."

Tonkin continues to handle the death penalty case against Eric Frein, who is accused of fatally shooting State Police Corporal Bryon Dickson and seriously wounding Trooper Alex Douglass in an ambush outside the Blooming Grove state police barracks last September.

Gaughan has been endorsed by two associations of current and retired state police. Tonkin has been endorsed by the county sheriff.

Tonkin said he's working to bring a Children’s Advocacy Center to Pike County through a partnership with Safe Haven. He said his office is developing a therapy dog program to bring comfort and security to child abuse victims as they encounter the legal system.

He also cited a partnership with Pike County Sheriff Phil Bueki to bring a mobile drop box to Pike County for the safe disposal of dangerous drugs.

“I believe that Pike County must have an experienced prosecutor as the chief prosecutor," stated Tonkin's press release. "The district attorney’s one and only client is the people of Pike County, not the politicians of Pike County. The future holds great challenges for the Pike County District Attorney, that’s why criminal law experience and expertise is more important than ever."