MARIETTA - In the midst of attack ads, personal jabs and heated debates, one local political race is an example of just the opposite.
The two men vying for the position of Washington County Common Pleas Court judge, Mark Kerenyi and Randall Burnworth, have been friends for a long time, and they intend to keep it that way.
The two men got together Monday to discuss their friendship and how it has shaped their campaigns. Unlike many political opponents, there is no tension in the room when Burnworth and Kerenyi get together. The two do share plenty of jokes, stories and just a little good-natured ribbing.
Photo by Jasmine Rogers
Mark Kerenyi, left, and Randall Burnworth joke over Burnworth’s shrunken college letter sweater, which hangs on his office wall, Monday.
"Did you shrink it?" joked Kerenyi about Burnworth's college letter sweater which is displayed in his office.
"My wife did! When that was handed to me brand new, it fit me perfectly," answered Burnworth, adding that at least its shrunken size saved his children money when purchasing the shadow box to display it.
The two men have enjoyed a lengthy friendship.
"I've known him since he moved here," said Burnworth of the friendship.
That was 16 years ago, added Kerenyi.
Both men currently work at the Washington County Courthouse, Burnworth as Magistrate of Washington County Court of Common Pleas Domestic Relations and Kerenyi as Magistrate of Washington County Court of Common Pleas Probate and Juvenile Division.
But Burnworth and Kerenyi have many shared interests outside of their professions. Both avid hunters, Burnworth and Kerenyi swapped numerous hunting stories during Monday's get-together. The two have even been hunting together.
"We did a hunting cabin trip," said Kerenyi, who added that he never did get a turkey on that trip.
The two were also members of the Boy Scouts. When Burnworth mentioned working at Boy Scout Summer camp, Kerenyi found more common ground.
"That's something else we have in common too, then," he said.
Even if the two men were not good friends, they predicted it would have still been a friendly campaign.
"I think it is the nature of judicial races. We do not have all the big divisive issues of other people," said Kerenyi.
Both candidates emphasized early on that they were going to run positive campaigns, each touting their own qualifications and experience, said Burnworth.
"I think Mark is right in regard to the judicial races requiring a little bit more decorum as opposed to some of the others," added Burnworth.
Though only one man can win the judicial seat, both men know they will have no problems remaining buddies.
"We have always been friends. Whoever wins, we are still going to work together in the courthouse," pointed out Kerenyi.
Added Burnworth, "We will be friends long after this is over."