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Bethlehem GOP backs Democrat Kotary for supervisor

Messina 'very disappointed' in committee that endorsed him in 2009

Bethlehem Councilman and Democrat Kyle Kotary has been endorsed by the town's Republican Committee for the position of town supervisor.

The GOP Committee made the decision last night in a meeting that went until midnight, said Chairman Ralph Ambrosio. It decided to depart from its actions in 2009 and not endorse Supervisor Sam Messina.

We're just trying to find the best person for the job, and the committee felt the best person for the job is Kyle Kotary, Ambrosio said. "We're not about party lines, we're not about doing anything other than trying to do what's best for the Town of Bethlehem,"

Kotary could not immediately be reached. Kotary and Messina have sometimes been at odds, especially in the early months of Messina's term.

Messina said he was surprised at the GOP's decision.

"I am very disappointed in the Republican Committee in Bethlehem," he said. "I think both as a supervisor and before that on the Town Board, I served all the people of this town well. I know of no area where I didn't meet the commitment that I made to people."

The Bethlehem Democratic Committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday, May 24, to designate its candidates. Messina (an Independent) has interviewed with the party and also sought the GOP's endorsement.

If Kotary can secure an endorsement from his own party, he would be well on his way to appearing in the top two spots on the ballot. Messina could still wage a petition drive to trigger a primary for the slots.

The supervisor said it's still too early to make a decision on that. The petitioning process starts in June.

"I've indicated during my interviews to all the parties that I'd always keep my options open on primary or opportunity to ballot," Messina said.

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