Try 1 month for 99¢
Legislature (copy)

Cayuga County Legislator Joseph Bennett, pictured in this 2016 file photo, held of a Democratic Party primary challenge Thursday from Mike Zank.

In Thursday's Democratic primary election, David Thurston defeated Steven Buschman in the race for Auburn's City Court Judge while Cayuga County Legislature District 10 incumbent Joe Bennett resisted challenger Mike Zank, according to unofficial results from the board of elections.

However, both races will ultimately be decided in November, as both of Thursday's defeated candidates already having secured alternative party lines.

Thurston, who has served as the city's assistant judge since his appointment in 2014, beat out Buschman, a senior partner at WHMB P.C. in Auburn, 1,063 to 749.

Both men announced their candidacy following Judge Michael McKeon's announcement in May that he'd be retiring from the position he's held since 1999.

In a release sent Thursday night, Thurston thanked his supporters and credited his campaign's team of volunteers along with the support of local law enforcement.

"We've been knocking on doors since the beginning of June, and I've thoroughly enjoyed meeting the voters of Auburn, sharing my experiences as Judge with them, and having the opportunity for the voters to share their experiences with me," Thurston said.

Thurston was endorsed by both the Cayuga County Democratic Committee as well as the Auburn Police Local 195 in his pursuit of the party nomination, although he also secured the Working Families Line.

Although Buschman is a lifelong Democrat, Buschman took the extra step to qualify for his name to appear on the Republican, Conservative and Independence Parties' lines and even received endorsements from the first two.

"I'm not trying to upset the apple cart ... I'm just throwing my hat in the ring," Buschman said in July. "Everyone should have a voice. I'm doing it for all parties because I believe at this local level the name and the qualifications and the person are much more important than that party designation next to that person's name. This is about people. It's not about politics for me."

A similar, but almost reverse, situation played out in the race for the County Legislature's 10th District seat. In that race, incumbent Bennett received the backing of the Cayuga County Republican Committee to run on their line as well as the Conservative line.

Bennett said in July he was motivated to do so after facing the unexpected challenge from a fellow Democrat, which he speculated was due to his refusal to "play the party game."

However, Democratic Committee Chair Ian Phillips, said the committee had made no endorsement in the race as Bennett's seat did not become open, due to a brief resignation to qualify for his pension, until after their nominating meeting.

Zank will continue on to November as he gathered enough petitions to run on the independent Auburn First line.

Subscribe to Daily Headlines

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Staff writer Ryan Franklin can be reached at (315) 282-2252 or Follow him on Twitter @RyanNYFranklin


County government reporter