October 16, 2018
Republican officials, including Corning Republican Chair Nick Weinstein, Steuben County Republican Chair Joe Sempolinski and Hornell GOP leader John Buckley, sent out a letter demanding that County Democrat leaders in this State Senate District, renounce their support for Democrat State Senate candidate Amanda Kirchgessner. Kirchgessner was accused by her ex-wife, of domestic violence in Tompkins County newspaper articles during the campaign.
County Republican Chairs from across New York State’s 58th Senate District today called on the region’s County Democratic Committees and other leading Democratic officials to rescind their support of Democratic Senate candidate Amanda Kirchgessner of Tompkins County and call on her to withdraw from the race in the wake of recent reports of domestic violence.
The chairs noted that October is Domestic Violence Awareness month while highlighting the domestic violence allegations and reports against Kirchgessner. NYS GOP Regional Vice Chairman and Chemung County GOP Chair Rodney Strange, City of Elmira GOP Chair Sara Lattin, Schuyler County GOP Chair Lester Cady, Steuben County GOP Chair Joe Sempolinski, City of Corning GOP Chair Nick Weinstein, City of Hornell GOP Chair John Buckley, Tompkins County GOP Chair Mike Siglin, and Yates County GOP Chair Jack Prendergast said that their counterparts in the Democratic Party should act to publicly reject Kirchgessner’s candidacy.
In a statement, the regional GOP Chairs said, “First and foremost, voters in every community across the 58th Senate District should be aware of these allegations and factual, corroborated reports against Democratic State Senate candidate Amanda Kirchgessner. Local law enforcement agencies, crisis centers, health professionals, domestic violence survivors, and many others take important steps during this Domestic Violence Awareness Month to bring this issue to the public’s attention. We believe it’s important that we do what we can to make local voters aware that Democratic Senate candidate Amanda Kirchgessner has been accused by her ex-wife of a long pattern of domestic violence and abusive behavior. At the very least, local Democratic Committees and other Democratic Party leaders should publicly reject her candidacy, withdraw any support they are providing the Kirchgessner campaign, and urge her to withdraw.”
First reported by the Ithaca Times in a lengthy article on October 2, Kirchgessner’s ex-wife, Brandi Morgan, accused Kirchgessner of a “pattern of abusive behavior during the latter years of their marriage, which officially ended in 2016. The allegations include grabbing, pushing, throwing objects, verbal abuse, intimidation” and threats to harm Morgan and to kill the couple’s pets.
The Ithaca Times reporting includes a New York State Domestic Violence Incident filed by the New York State Police following a physical abuse incident in June 2015, and a tape recording of Kirchgessner acknowledging the physical abuse.
According to the October 2 Ithaca Times article, “While acknowledging there will inevitably be questions about the timing of her decision to tell her story and any political motivations, Morgan, herself a liberal like Kirchgessner and self-described ‘pretty far to the left,’ decided coming forward was necessary once she saw the primary results and knew Kirchgessner was advancing to the general election in November. Morgan has chosen to come forward and gave the Ithaca Times permission to use her name despite her status as a survivor of domestic violence. She presented evidence of the abuse through tape recordings, pictures, a police report and blog posts from the time period. People familiar with the couple at the time have also independently corroborated to the Ithaca Times what Morgan told them throughout the later course of the marriage about Kirchgessner’s conduct.”
[Read the full Ithaca Times article here: https://www.ithaca.com/news/ithaca/state-senate-candidate-kirchgessner-accused-of-domestic-violence/article_008f87d6-c675-11e8-b1c8-73a197696eba.html]
The County GOP Chairs, highlighting the factual reporting and the extreme seriousness of domestic violence, said that the Chemung County Democratic Committee has already rescinded its endorsement of Kirchgessner and called on the Democratic Committees in Schuyler, Steuben, Tompkins and Yates counties to also publicly rescind their Kirchgessner endorsements and urge her to withdraw from the race.
The GOP Chairs also called on regional Democrat leaders including Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick, Tompkins County Legislature Chair Martha Robertson, and Corning Mayor Bill Boland to publicly renounce Kirchgessner’s candidacy and also call for her to withdraw in light of the serious domestic violence reports.
Response From Steuben County Democrat Chairman Shawn Hogan: “First of all, they ought to do their research, and find that Steuben County’s Democrat Committee never endorsed Amanda Kirchgessner,” Hogan said. “So we have nothing to renounce, because we never endorsed her. So they (the Republicans) ought to focus on their own faux pas, and not this issue, because we never endorsed Kirchgessner. I believe Tompkins County and Chemung County (Democrats) have already withdrawn their endorsements.”