Otsego County Republican eyes run for Seward's Senate seat (UPDATE)
State Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, could face a primary challenge this fall in the 51st Senate District, according to information filed with the state Board of Elections.
Jim Blake, a Republican who lives in Otsego County, filed paperwork to create a campaign to run for the 51st Senate District seat.
Blake says on his campaign website that he will challenge Seward for the Republican nomination in the Sept. 13 primary. The challenge is a big change of pace for the long-term incumbent, who didn't even have a Democratic challenger in 2010.
Living in Otsego County since 2004 with his wife and five children, Blake is a member of the Knights of Columbus and St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and serves on the board of directors for a software company. He also founded a trading company and was co-owner of an insurance agency in Georgia.
“Upstate deserves more and I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and make sure it happens," he said in a statement. " Our campaign is going to be a grassroots effort to impose the will of people on the ‘good old boys’ system’ in Albany and to create jobs from the bottom up, through innovative ideas and old fashioned hard work.”
“My opponent in our Republican primary has had 26 years in office and during that time New York’s tax burden and regulations have grown. I want to shrink them. We need a new, fresh, business perspective from someone who knows how to solve problems and has no vested interest in maintaining the status quo," Blake added.
The newly constituted 51st district includes Schoharie County. The likely Democratic candidate is Howard Leib of Ithaca.
UPDATE: In a phone interview on July 11, Blake confirmed that he will still submit petitions to challenge Seward. He expects Seward to challenge his petitions, but is confident they will ultimately be deemed valid.
Follow @GazettePolitics on Twitter.