ELIZABETHTOWN - Though Republican committee members voted overwhelmingly to endorse Kristy Sprague, her challengers remain in the race for the office of Essex County District Attorney.
Sprague, an assistant district attorney in Clinton County and a graduate of Moriah Central School, secured her party's endorsement with roughly two-thirds of the committee's weighted votes March 31.
The GOP endorsement is a coveted one in the county where registered Republicans outnumber Democrats two to one. Help with fundraising and carrying petitions comes with the party's backing.
Despite losing out on that support, incumbent district attorney Julie Garcia has expressed her intent to continue campaigning, with hopes of winning the Republican primary in September.
"Julie Garcia believes in letting the people decide and not a select group of people who have distorted her record," said Brandon Quinn, spokesman for Garcia's re-election campaign. He said Garcia was disapointed, but not surprised at the results of the endorsement meeting.
Quinn pointed to a handful of committee members who worked to undermine support for Garcia, including former DA Ronald Briggs of North Elba, who obtained five proxy votes after writing a lengthy letter to the committee criticizing Garcia's tenure in office.
Garcia beat Briggs, the previous incumbent, for the Republican endorsement prior to the last election.
"Ms. Garcia has utterly failed the people of Essex County and does not deserve another term in office," Briggs wrote, claiming Garcia has mishandled cases and inflated her office's budget.
Garcia denied those assertions at the committee meeting and claimed her budget had actually decreased. She also tried to clarify her stance on the use of DWI forfeiture money and her suggestion to hire a new Stop DWI coordinator; ideas that have been opposed by many Essex County Republicans who align with current Stop DWI coordinator Joseph Provoncha.
Brian Barrett, a private practice lawyer from Lake Placid, has also stated his intention to run as an independent after receiving less than two percent of the committee's endorsement vote.
Neither Barrett nor Sprague were able to be reached for comment prior to publication.