ELIZABETHTOWN - A lawsuit aimed at getting one Essex County District Attorney candidate off the ballot has been rejected in court.
Five Elizabethtown residents filed a claim in July that Republican-endorsed candidate Kristy Sprague's petition signatures had to be declared invalid because she is not a resident of Essex County.
Incumbent DA Julie Garcia was also named among the petitioners in the suit.
Justice Robert J. Muller handled the case in Essex County Supreme Court, and delivered his decision Aug. 14. He cited precedents that dealt with the State Election Law.
"Based upon this, it is clear ''the only requirement' imposed by the State Board of Elections 'is that the candidate be a resident at the time of election,''" Muller wrote.
Sprague called the trial a publicity stunt on the part of Garcia and a waste of time and resources.
"My opponent was wrong on the law and wrong on the facts," said Sprague, "just simply wrong."
Gregory and Barbara Krieger, Nancy Dawson, and Malcolm and Judyth Martin were the five residents to bring the suit. All are registered Republicans.
Attorney James Walsh, who represented the petitioners in the case, said he was dissapointed with the outcome.
"I believe the constitutional office of District Attorney does require that person to live in the county in which they serve," he said. "I think I provided the judge with case law supporting that."
Sprague currently lives in Clinton County where she serves as the Assistant DA, but has expressed a desire to move to Essex County before the November 3 Election.
Sprague won the Republican endorsement over Garcia, who later gained the endorsement of Democrats. Garcia has remained a registered Republican, however, and plans to face Sprague in the Sept. 15 primary.
"I am very pleased the voters will have a choice in the upcoming election," said Sprague. "I look forward to being on the September ballot as the endorsed Republican candidate."
The two candidates are set to face off in a debate on Thursday, Aug. 27 at 6 p.m. at the Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School.
Editors note: Readers may submit questions for the candidates in the upcoming debate by sending them via e-mail to email@example.com or addressing them to Denton Publications, Attn: Matt Bosley, P.O. Box 338, Elizabethtown, NY 12932.