Mark Rose talks with voters during a Republican campaign rally in Herkimer.
by Dave Warner
Judge Mark Rose won a bid to fill one of four State Supreme Court Justice positions that were up for grabs on Tuesday.
A group of four Republicans, Rose, Julie Grow Denton, Kevin P. Kuehner, and William F. Ramseier, all had worked together to cover the six-county area that was going to elect four out of the eight candidates that were running.
All four of them won, with Denton getting the most votes, followed by Rose, Kuehner, and Ramseier. “We all won by more than 20,000 votes over the top Democrat vote-getter.”
Rose stated, “We knew we had to minimize our losses in Onondaga County. We knew that we were in very good shape when those numbers came in.”
After that, only two counties were left that they were waiting for results from – Oswego and Oneida. “We had a call-in from Oswego, and once we heard those numbers, they called the race for us before Oneida even came in.”
He said that as judges, they couldn’t endorse each other. Still, they had figured out how to work as a team – going to events together, promoting the fact that voters had the right to vote for four candidates, and even helping each other when it came to placing signs in the different counties.
“It made it a lot easier logistically. When we went to events, we’d carpool sometimes,” he said. “It was very nice because it allowed us to bond together. It was a united front in a sense.”
Rose says that the relationships they’ve developed will help when it comes time to be sworn in at the beginning of next year. “We’ll be able to call each other up for help. I’ve got this type of case. I’ve never had one of these before. Have you had this type before, and how did you handle it?”
He said that helps everyone. The court system, the workers, and even the litigants.
Rose said that the thought of being a state supreme court justice is very exciting. “I’m very, very proud, and I look at it as more than just a judgeship. I look at it as a branch of government. Herkimer County has not had a representative in that branch. It’s been quite disheartening.”
“Now we’ve brought that back to Herkimer, and it should make the people proud,” he stated.
Rose says he has to close down his law office and help the municipalities he represents find new legal counsel because being a state justice is a full-time job. “In no way ever would I simply just abandon anything. I want to close it out and do it the right way.”
“This is a big area with six counties and approximately 1.15 million people,” he said.
His office will be in Herkimer, and he said he’s sure he’ll have to help out in other areas when they need it. “I did that when I was city court judge. I went up to Utica for an extended period of time. I enjoyed it, I really did.”
He said that in addition to the campaign, people might not know about the behind-the-scenes activities. “Instead of a primary, you’re nominated at a convention. The big convention was the Republican one, where all the judicial delegates from all the counties come together and nominate the candidates.”
Rose said he’s been working on this since May of 2021. “We had to convince Syracuse that Herkimer County was worthy. Not necessarily the candidates themselves but the area. Because this was an election with six counties – if you’re a smaller county, you’re at a real disadvantage.”
“Luckily, the Republican party, which I’m a member of, believes in ‘home rule.’ Meaning this was originally a judicial seat for Herkimer County. It’s not written in the law, but it was a practice. They believe in that, and that somebody should be there to be a home-town judge, and that was to my advantage.”
He said that if you notice, all of the other candidates on the other side were from Syracuse or Utica. He said that in Rochesters District, which is very similar to ours, all the judges are from Rochester, and none of the smaller counties have representation.
“The Conservative Party also believes in home rule, which played to my advantage, although I’d like to think I was a tremendous candidate,” Rose said.
He said that the County Chair, Sylvia Rowan met with all the other leaders in the other counties and got them to agree to support a worthy candidate from Herkimer County.
The Republican and Conservative conventions were in August, where the delegates deliberated on who they would support. “I knew I was going to have the Republican nomination, and I was very confident that I’d have the Conservative one, but you never know. In this race, it is crucial to have two lines.”
Another interesting tidbit, he said, was, “You talk about these conventions. The candidates have to pay for these conventions. The Republican Convention was at a meeting facility where they also had lunch. The Conservative one was at a convention place with dinner, so we had to pay for that as well. There are a lot of behind-the-scenes costs and time consumption.”
Rose ended…”I put a lot of miles on my car.”