Schenectady County

1 party having sole county primary

The two candidates for Schenectady County sheriff will square off for the Working Families Party


The two candidates for Schenectady County sheriff will square off for the Working Families Party line in the only countywide primary on Sept. 15.

Independence Party sheriff’s candidate Joe Lazzari is running a write-in campaign for the Working Families line against Conservative Party sheriff’s candidate Dominick Dagostino. Dagostino is the endorsed candidate of the Working Families Party.

The Schenectady County Board of Elections last week approved Lazzari’s Working Families petitions, seeking an opportunity to ballot, against objections filed by Anthony Cervera, chairman of the Rotterdam Democratic Committee.

Cervera was unable to knock off enough signatures to disqualify Lazzari’s petitions and he did not file suit in state Supreme Court to challenge the elections board’s decision by Thursday’s deadline.

The Sept. 15 primary is limited to Working Families Party members. Dagostino’s name will appear on the ballot, but not Lazzari’s, said Art Brassard, Republican commissioner of the Board of Elections. “We will use the old mechanical machines. People have to go to the strip above the candidate’s name, open the little door and write in the person’s name,” Brassard said of those who wish to vote for Lazzari.

Lazzari said he was pleased his petitions succeeded. “It is a good thing for us. We worked hard to get the names that we got and we will continue to work hard and see what happens,” he said.

On the challenge of winning a write-in campaign, Lazzari remained optimistic. “We crossed the first hurdle and we will try and go over the next hurdle,” he said.

Dagostino could not be reached for comment.

Brassard said that while difficult, a candidate can win a write-in campaign. He cited the 2007 success of Angelo Santabarbara, then a candidate for Schenectady County Legislature. Santabarbara waged an opportunity-to-ballot effort to win the Conservative Party line in his race for the county Legislature. The endorsement had gone to the Democrat. Santabarbara went on to win a seat in District 4, representing Rotterdam, Duanesburg and Princetown.

“We have seen effective write-in campaigns. Good, organized candidates can do it,” Brassard said.

Whoever wins the Working Families Party line Sept. 15 will then have three lines going into the November General Election. Dagostino has the Conservative and Democratic lines, Lazzari the Independence and Republican lines.

Dagostino, 42, is a Rotterdam police lieutenant. Lazzari, 60, is a retired city of Schenectady police detective.

The race is to replace former sheriff Harry Buffardi, a Democrat who resigned Feb. 27 to become a full-time professor at Schenectady County Community College. It is the first time in memory when candidates from minor parties are leading a countywide ticket with support from the major parties.

The only other scheduled primaries in September are those involving the Conservative and the Republican parties for supervisor and Town Board in Rotterdam.

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