ITHACA, N.Y. — Cornell student and Democratic nominee Elie Kirshner lost to a write-in candidate in the race to represent Collegetown and downtown Ithaca on the Tompkins County Legislature.

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Local attorney Rich John, who ran the write-in campaign, won by an apparent vote margin of 118-91. During the campaign, John stressed his years as an attorney and questioned whether Kirshner, 19, had sufficient experience to serve on the legislature.

Kirshner gave a concession speech at Hotel Ithaca in which he thanked his supporters, parents and friends.

Kirshner won the Democratic nomination in similarly controversial fashion to another Democratic nominee who lost Tuesday night. Nate Shinagawa, Democratic nominee for the Fall Creek seat on the Tompkins County Legislature, fell to independent candidate Anna Kelles by a greater margin.

John said he wasn’t declaring victory until the final vote count was in but said the results looked promising.

“I’m certainly hopeful that the count works out,” John said in a phone interview. “It sure looks like a positive outcome from the numbers I’ve seen.”

“I’m just gratified at the number of people who came out to help me this was a very short campaign and we had a very steep learning curve,” John said, “and so many people came out and said we want to help you do it and they did it.”

Irene Stein, chair of the Tompkins County Democratic Party, said she looks forward to working with both Kelles and John.

Check back for updates on this story.

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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.