BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Erie County District Attorney John Flynn will not seek re-election in 2024 and may step down before his term is up, he said on News 4 on Thursday.
Flynn said that he will return to practice law privately, but is still working on finding a law office that will take him on.
“I am marketable. Let’s be honest. I am marketable and I’m in a position now where I’m an attractive candidate to private practice,” Flynn said. “So I’m going to use that marketability.”
The announcement comes on the heels of Congressman Brian Higgins announcing that he will leave office in February 2024. Flynn said that he is not interested in the seat, nor is he interested in filling a State Senate seat, if it is vacated by Tim Kennedy (D), who is running for Higgins’ seat.
UPDATE: The executive committee of the Erie County Democratic Party will meet Tuesday evening, Nov. 21, to give their endorsement the upcoming election. Interviews with prospective candidates will precede the vote.
Flynn said that he believes in term limits and had made it clear throughout his entire tenure that he would only run for two terms.
“I’ve always believed in term limits, so I made it clear to everybody that I was only going to do two terms,” Flynn said.
Flynn has served as the District Attorney since January 2017 and is nearing the end of his second term in office. He handled the criminal prosecution of Payton Gendron, who killed 10 Black people and injured three more in the racist Tops supermarket mass shooting on May 14, 2022. Gendron pleaded guilty to 15 charges, including domestic terrorism motivated by hate, six months after the attack. The federal case against him is still pending, but he will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Flynn leaving office clears the way for Michael Keane to take over. Keane is currently the First Deputy District Attorney. He previously served as Assistant District Attorney.
He said that numbers in the area for shootings and homicides are down, but car thefts and retail crimes are up in the area. Flynn said that the shootings and homicides are lower than they were pre-pandemic.
“Once you tackle one problem, something else pops up. And right now it’s retail crimes and car thefts,” Flynn said, but noted that retail crime is a nationwide issue.
Before his time as Erie County DA, Flynn was a personal injury lawyer, served as the town attorney for Tonawanda and spent time on the Tonawanda Town Board.
“I’ve been talking to folks, I’m exploring a lot of possibilities out there, but it’ll definitely be in the private sector,” Flynn said. “That’s a given.”
Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.