After hedging for several months about his campaign plans for the state’s 51st Senate District, Sen. James L. Seward announced this week he is seeking re-election to the seat he’s held for nearly 22 years.
Unlike the last election, however, Seward, R-Milford, will face an active Democratic challenger. Don Barber, a six-term supervisor of the town of Caroline in Tompkins County, kicked off his campaign throughout the sprawling seven-county district in March.
With no challengers contending for major party lines as of Thursday’s filing deadline, no primary battles are expected in September for either the 51st Senate District or the 127th Assembly District, which includes Schoharie County.
Incumbent Assemblyman Peter Lopez filed petitions for the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines. Lopez, R-Schoharie, is unopposed for re-election to his second term.
All the required nominating petitions were filed by Thursday’s deadline, according to the state Board of Elections.
Seward said in his campaign announcement that he filed 5,072 signatures as a Republican, plus 615 signatures on the Independence Party line and 390 on the Conservative line.
Barber filed 2,605 Democratic signatures, plus 58 for the Working Families Party line.
Both candidates have significantly more signatures than the number required to get on the ballots, making any potential procedural challenges unlikely to succeed.
Seward announced his candidacy in a statement issued shortly before the 5 p.m. filing deadline, while Barber said he filed his petitions the day before.
In a news release late Thursday, Seward cited his experience. “The challenges that face us are clear: property tax relief for middle-class taxpayers, help with energy costs, and jobs and economic development,” he said.
Barber, in a news release, raised the issue of the convoluted district lines running through seven counties in central New York as a sign of “gerrymandering,” the political practice of majority parties drawing complicated district lines to protect incumbents.
The mostly rural 51st District zig-zags from the Adirondacks to the Catskills and the Hudson Valley and west to the eastern Finger Lakes Region. It consists of all of Schoharie, Otsego, Herkimer, Greene and Cortland counties, as well as parts of Chenango and Tompkins counties.
“[People] have signed our petitions because they want a choice, and they want change,” Barber said.
Barber campaign officials cited concerns about health care costs, jobs and property taxes.
“It’s going to heat up pretty soon,” Barber spokesman Michael Blaine said Friday. “We’re going to make some very sharp distinctions,” he said.
Lopez’s 127th Assembly District comprises all of Schoharie County, most of Greene County and parts of Otsego, Delaware, Columbia, Chenango and Ulster counties.
The exact number of signatures for Lopez was not available Friday, but he filed 267 pages of petitions as a Republican, 40 pages for the Conservative line and 26 on the Independence Party line, according to the state Elections Board’s Web site.
A full page might average about 10 signatures, but some pages could include only a few signatures.
More from The Daily Gazette:
Categories: Schenectady County