Stott sits out legislative race; may run for Salina council

— Former County Legislator Dave Stott has had enough.

After losing two close elections to Republican Judy Tassone, Stott decided against running against her for a third time when she defends her Fourth District seat in November. Instead, he has his eyes on the Salina Town Council where he hopes to take over for incumbent Democrat Jim Magnarelli who has represented the second ward since 2010 but is now considering stepping down.

Stott had served one term on the county legislature after beating incumbent Republican Legislator Jim Farrell in 2007.

Meanwhile a new candidate has emerged to challenge Tassone this year: Democrat Carol Sinesi.

In the 2009 election Tassone toppled then-incumbent Stott by a 138-vote margin. In 2011, the last time Stott and Tassone tangled, Tassone retained her seat by a mere 50 votes.

The 2011 campaign was especially combative, with Stott blaming Tassone and her fellow county Republicans for tax increases suffered by Salina homeowners. Tassone countered by claiming Stott was distorting her record and using “dirty” campaign tactics.

“So this year I chose not to run again against the Tassones,” Stott said, referring to the candidate and her husband, Salina town Republican committee chairman Bill Tassone.

“The Tassones are amoral people who would say or do anything to win a race,” Stott said. “I don’t think that’s what public service is all about. It should be about helping your neighbors.”

When she finally vanquished Stott after absentee ballots were tabulated in 2011, Judy Tassone breathed a sigh of relief. “These have been two nasty campaigns,” she told a reporter. “I hope he’s gone.”

And this year, her hope has become reality as she anticipates a “clean campaign” against Sinesi. The legislator met her new opponent at a public event a few weeks ago. “It was very pleasant to meet her,” Tassone said, “and she agreed with me that we both want to run clean campaigns. We’ll both sick to the issues.”

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