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September 26, 2013

Ross steps down as head of county GOP

COOPERSTOWN - Veteran Otsego County Republican Chairwoman Sheila Ross stepped down Thursday night from her leadership role over the county GOP committee, which installed political consultant Vince Casale of Cooperstown as her replacement.

Ross, a resident of the town of Otsego, said she will continue as the county’s Republican elections commissioner and will stay involved with the county Republican committee.

“I just think it’s time for change and I think Vince will do a great job,” Ross said.

Casale, the son of former state Assemblyman Anthony Casale, has become involved in several local political races, advising GOP candidates and handling their communications.

She said Jim Salisbury of Otego and Lori Lehenbauer of Worcester, the county’s deputy Republican elections commissioner, will serve as the vice chairman and vice chairwoman, respectively, of the committee.

In another change, Dortothy Rathbun, the committee’s secretary, retired from that position, and was replaced by county Rep. Betty Anne Schwerd, R-Burlington. The committee’s treasurer will continue to be Cooperstown Village Clerk Teri Barown.

County Democratic Chairmman Richard Abbate said he respected Ross’s dedication to promoting Republicans for public office.

“I applaud her for all the hard work she has done,” Abbate said.

The stakes are high for both parties in the November elections, with control of the county board in play and the GOP lining up behind independent candidate Edward Keator Jr. of West Oneonta in his challenge to county Treasurer Dan Crowell, a first-term Democrat.

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