Kennelly is new Democratic pick for county judge

LAKE PLACID — The Essex County Democratic Committee last week named Lake Placid attorney Bryan Liam Kennelly as its new candidate for Essex County judge amidst a ballot challenge from the Essex County Republican Party.

Essex County Republicans filed an objection on June 14 to Quinn’s withdrawal from the race, arguing that a candidate may only remove themselves from a ballot if they move out of the state, die or are convicted of a felony. Quinn withdrew herself from the race earlier this month following her June 6 appointment to the New York state Court of Claims.

At an Essex County Board of Elections hearing in Elizabethtown on Tuesday, Quinn’s withdrawal from the race was upheld, allowing Kennelly to take her place as the Democratic nominee for judge for the time being.

Kennelly, 42, has practiced law in Lake Placid for 13 years, where he lives with his wife and daughter. He is a 2000 graduate of Lake Placid High School, later attending SUNY New Paltz and law school at the University of Vermont. He ran for a seat on the North Elba Town Council in 2017 and served on the Lake Placid Central School District Board of Education from 2018 to 2022. He currently serves as the town of Keene’s attorney. He’ll face Essex County District Attorney Kristy Sprague, who is the Republican and Conservative party lines, on November’s ballot.

Kennelly said on Wednesday that his “extensive experience” in both family and criminal court make him well-prepared for the judgeship.

“I’ve taken multiple criminal matters to jury. I have an extensive background in civil litigation and I’m really running for my community because I’ve lived in the Adirondacks essentially my entire life,” he said. “This is where I built my practice, where I’ve raised a family.”

He added that he wants to create a court culture that “empowers litigants” and “(advocates) for the court itself,” saying that he’s interested in exploring the idea of a rotating court. This means that court would hold sessions in multiple locations across the county aside from its primary location in the county seat.

“In our case, I’d be looking to hold court occasionally in Lake Placid or Ticonderoga, if possible … (to) lower barriers for access to get into court and attend,” Kennelly said.

Since the Essex County Republican and Democratic commissioners disagreed on the challenge to Quinn’s withdrawal from the race — with the Democratic commissioner upholding Quinn’s withdrawal and the Republican commissioner opposing it — no action was taken on Tuesday, leaving things the way they stood before, with Kennelly replacing Quinn on the ballot.

Essex County Republican Committee Acting Chairman Win Belanger said Tuesday that his party does not intend to take its ballot challenge any further. Instead, its next move is “to win the election,” he said. He added that he wished Quinn well in her new judgeship.


Quinn, 53, started her new role at the Court of Claims earlier this month and is currently also serving as an acting state Supreme Court justice. She applied to sit on the Court of Claims back in February 2023.

She was notified of her appointment on May 31 and appeared before the state Senate judiciary committee on June 5. She was approved the next day by the Senate and sworn in by current Essex County judge Richard Meyer.

The presiding judge of the New York state Court of Claims, Richard Sise, allowed Meyer to swear Quinn in.

Prior to her appointment, Quinn served as the principal court attorney under Meyer for 18 years. Meyer will retire at the end of his second 10-year term on Dec. 31; Quinn was running to serve as his successor on both the Democratic and Working Families party lines.


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