46tH STATE SENATE DISTRICT – Child sexual abuse victim advocate Gary Greenberg is pursuing an independent ballot line for this fall in the 46th Senate District, after failing to force a Democratic primary against party-supported candidate Michelle Hinchey.
Greenberg on Thursday announced his plans and called on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to lower the minimum number of signatures independent Senate candidates must acquire from 2,100 to 900 because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. He sent a letter to the governor’s office later in the day.
The 2,100-signature requirement, set by Cuomo late last month in an executive order, it already down from the 3,000 signatures that would be required in a normal election year. In April, when the pandemic in New York was at its worst, he allowed party primary candidates to submit as few as 300 signatures.
Greenberg said the struggles facing petition-carriers haven’t changed since the pandemic started. “There is still the same difficulty,” he said. “People won’t come to the door. They don’t want to handle your pen.”
Greenberg, of New Baltimore, is best-known for his long-time advocacy as a private citizen of the Child Victims Act, which was adopted in 2018 and allows childhood sexual abuse victims to bring lawsuit as adults against institutions like the Roman Catholic Church and Boy Scouts of America.
This year, he sought to run for the 46th state Senate District seat being vacated by the retirement of state Sen. George A. Amedore, R-Rotterdam. Democratic party leadership, however, backed Michelle Hinchey of Saugherties, the Democrat of the late congressman Maurice Hinchey. When Greenberg tried to force a primary, a lawsuit from Hinchey campaign forced him off the ballot, for not having enough valid signatures.
The Republican candidate is former state trooper Richard Amedure of Rensselaerville.
Greenberg said he’s in the race until November, regardless of the whether Cuomo changes the signature requirement. The signed petitions must be submitted to the state Board of Elections by July 30.
“I am committed to running. I will run a write-in campaign if I have to,” he said.
The 46th Senate District includes all or parts of Montgomery, Schenectady, Albany, Greene and Ulster counties. The state Board of Elections reported it has 75,573 enrolled Democratic voters, 56,734 enrolled Republicans, and 56,341 voters not enrolled in a party.