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Debate heats up over Ontario County judge endorsement

Dispute over the Ontario County Republican Committee endorsement in the race for county judge now has a former GOP chair taking issue with the move.

In a weighted vote, the committee endorsed Kristina “Kitty” Karle over Russ Kenyon. The two Republicans are vying for the seat being vacated by Judge William Kocher, who is not seeking reelection.

Following the endorsement last week, Kenyon charged that “a small group of people behind closed doors tried to make the decision for all Ontario County residents …”

“They backed my opponent and now are pushing me to get out of the race,” alleged Kenyon in a statement.

Committee Chair Trisha Turner disputed Kenyon’s assertion: “Unlike the description provided by Mr. Kenyon, 162 (out of the 169 existing members) representing 18 towns and cities cast votes of endorsement for the candidates,” she stated.

Turner remarked on the size of the turnout — “the highest representation of committee members I’ve seen since my involvement in the committee” — and said the candidates had undergone intense vetting over the past few months “with 18 town and city committees, executive committee and full committee several times.” With a two-thirds weighted vote required, Turner said, Karle received 77.3 percent.

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