November 4, 2015

Elie Kirshner ’18 Concedes, Nate Shinagawa ’05 Loses in County Elections

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Democrats Elie Kirshner ’18 and Nate Shinagawa ’05 both failed to secure seats on the Tompkins County Legislature Tuesday, according to unofficial returns.

Kirshner, who was running to represent the fourth district, secured 91 ballots to 118 ballots cast for write-in candidates. Shinagawa lost the second district seat to Independent candidate Anna Kelles by a margin of 340 votes to 474. Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 1.01.35 AM

Write-in candidate Rich John ’81 mounted a campaign against Kirshner also seeking to represent the fourth district, which includes the Collegetown and the Commons neighborhoods, two weeks after the Democratic party endorsed Kirshner, arguing that a more experienced candidate was needed.

Shinagawa had represented the fourth district in the legislature for 10 years and announced his resignation from that seat on Sept. 16. Shinagawa recently switched his residency to Fall Creek, where he has owned property since 2011, and ran to represent the second district, which encompasses the Fall Creek neighborhood.

“It’s been an honor serving on the Legislature,” Shinagawa wrote in a statement congratulating Kelles on his Facebook page. “Unfortunately I lost my campaign. I’m looking forward to working with my opponent, Anna Kelles, who is now going to be my representative!”

Kelles is a local community organizer and serves as the director of Green Resource Hub. She cited her advocacy work on a proposal for the Old Tompkins County Library as a key turning point in her journey towards running.

Kirshner is an Ithaca native who has pointed to his experiences interning at City Hall and working as a field director for Myrick’s reelection campaign in defense against questions about his youth. He conceded defeat in a speech Tuesday evening, according to The Ithaca Journal.

“I’m disappointed I won’t be able to serve, but I’m really proud of the campaign, and I’ve never been more proud to be a Democrat and to live in Ithaca,” Kirshner said, according to The Journal’s report.

John acknowledged that the results were unofficial as of Wednesday evening and would not be determined until after the write-in ballots were officially looked over.

John has practiced law in Ithaca for 29 years after having worked as a city prosecutor, municipal attorney and general councilman and chief compliance officer for Intertech, an international testing laboratory.

The Tompkins County Legislature oversees and enacts county-wide legislation. Residents elected new representatives for the fourth and second districts Tuesday.

Sofia Hu and Paulina Glass contributed reporting.