Sandy Church elected County Judge
Orleans County voters picked Sanford Church, an Albion attorney and the county’s current public defender, to be the next county judge.
Church received 57 percent of the vote against Tonia Ettinger, an Orleans County native who currently works an attorney for the Legal Aid Society in Rochester.
Church received 4,564 votes to 3,419 for Ettinger. Church had the Republican line and Ettinger ran with the Democratic and Conservative lines.
Church follows James Punch, who retired after nearly 27 years as the county judge. Church, during a victory celebration at the Black North Inn, said the court has been running well and doesn’t need any major changes.
“The court system isn’t broken,” he said. “I’m confident I can keep it going.”
Church was backed by the Orleans County Bar Association and numerous attorneys who live and work in the county.
“He certainly had the backing of the legal community and that tells you something about what the people who have to practice in front of him think about him,” said Charlie Nesbitt, the former state assemblyman who helped Church with the campaign.
Nesbitt has known Church for many years and said the newly elected judge has the perfect temperament for a judge. Church is low-key and weighs the facts, Nesbitt said.
“He is almost perfectly qualified to be the judge,” Nesbitt said. “He has experience in all of the courts and he has a judicial temperament.”
Ettinger was grateful for the chance run in the election and give county residents a choice for the 10-year position.
“Thank you – two small words that hardly seem sufficient,” she said in a statement. “Thank you to Allen Lofthouse (Conservative Party Chair) and Jeanne Crane (Democratic Party Chair) and all the members of both committees for believing in me from the start. Thank you to the two parties for coming together in pursuit of a common goal.
“Too often in elections there is no choice. I am proud, honored and grateful to have been the one to offer the voters a choice. Thank you to my fiancé Paul, my son Blake and the rest of my family, especially my mother for always inspiring me to stand up for what I believe in even in the path of adversity.
“Thank you to my friends, both old and new, for encouraging and supporting me along the way. Thank you to the people who have fought and continue to fight protecting our right to vote. Finally and most importantly thank you to the voters of Orleans County. I could not have made it through this journey without your support. I am incredibly inspired by the complete strangers who offered their support and those that registered to vote for the first time to vote for me. Thank you.”