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Cox loses 403-962 in District 12 Republican primary challenge

— Robert Cox will not hold the District 12 legislative seat for another term.

Cox lost 403-962 in his primary challenge to David Knapp, who was endorsed by the Republicans in May. Voting for the primaries was held today, with polls closing at 9 p.m.

Cox, an attorney from Pompey, was appointed to the legislature by County Executive Joanie Mahoney in March after Robert DeMore resigned to become director of the county's division of Community Development.

Knapp has been a LaFayette town councilor since 1999 and a member of the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency since 2009. He lost a race against Democrat Al Stirpe for state Assembly in 2008.

Cox ran on the campaign platform of "Save Pratts Falls." The Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee recommended the park's closure last year, but the move was denied by the Legislature. Cox expects county legislators to again propose the park’s closing during this year’s budget debate. The county's budget vote is scheduled for Oct. 11

Cox formed an independent party called Save Pratt’s Falls and filed a petition to be on the general election ballot on the party’s line even if he lost the Republican primary. The petition has been challenged by the county Republican Party, and is under review of the county board of elections.

Knapp has said he will not support the park's closure should the issue resurface.

Knapp will now run against Democrat Phil Benedict for the District 12 seat in the Nov. 8 election.

Benedict, a facilities supervisor for Syracuse University Physical Plant, works part-time as a peace officer for the town of Pompey and served as chairman of Pompey’s Environmental Conservation Commission from from January 2006 to December 2008. He is also a member of The Pratt’s Falls Committee.

Onondaga County's District 12 consists of the towns of Fabius, LaFayette, Pompey and Tully, and parts of DeWitt, Manlius and Syracuse.

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