Ontario County DA candidates spar at debate

The Grand Ballroom at The Inn on the Lake was the site of a biting exchange between the two Republican candidates for Ontario County district attorney Tuesday night during a debate hosted by the Three Men and a Microphone radio program. Moderated by the program’s Tim Thornton, the candidates faced a full house and a full range of questions coming from audience members and each candidate’s camp, submitted in writing.

Kristina “Kitty” Karle and Jim Ritts are running in next Tuesday’s primary. Karle was prosecutor for 13 years and has been in private practice for six years. Ritts has been an attorney in the Ontario County district attorney’s office for 18 years, having been appointed assistant district attorney in January.

At the center of the debate, in which questions covered a wide range of topics, were issues involving experience and prosecutorial misconduct.

Coming from the Ritts camp to Karle: Why were you released from your job as assistant district attorney in Monroe County?

“Because I am a lifelong Republican,” replied Karle. She accused Ritts of changing party allegiance, saying “I live by the sword and I will die by the sword.”

Karle was one of five prosecutors Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley released when she first took office in 2011. She talked about the firing Nov. 22, 2011 of “five of us, five committed DAs who were Republicans” who were fired “for being Republicans,” she said.

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