The Schenectady County corrections officer from Corinth who planned to challenge veteran Saratoga County Sheriff James D. Bowen this fall has ended his candidacy.
In a statement, Michael DiGioacchino said he’d been unable to collect the 1,000 petition signatures needed to get onto a Sept. 15 Republican primary ballot. Those petitions were due at the county Board of Elections by Thursday afternoon.
DiGioacchino said his full-time employment as a corrections officer and his wife’s current pregnancy meant they didn’t have time to collect enough signatures going door-to-door.
“I knew getting the required number of signatures was going to be difficult,” DiGioacchino acknowledged.
He announced his candidacy last December, and after the county Republican Committee unanimously endorsed Bowen for a new four-year term in May, DiGioacchino said he was planning a primary challenge.
He campaigned on a platform saying that he had new ideas to cut costs and that the Sheriff’s Department needs to be preparing to fight more serious crimes, based on the types of crimes happening in the region’s cities.
“As a resident of Saratoga County, I still feel that the safety and security of this area is a top priority and vigilance should be maintained to ensure the continued beauty and prosperity of this great county,” he said.
Bowen, 71, who has been the county sheriff for 36 years, is the longest-tenured sheriff in the state. He did not return a call seeking comment.
Democrats are not running a candidate against Bowen.
Bowen still faces a potential challenge from Jason Longton, a former Corinth police officer who is circulating petitions to run as an independent in November. Independent petitions don’t have to be filed until Aug. 18.
The sheriff, who oversees both the sheriff’s law enforcement department and the county jail with a combined staff of more than 200, serves a four-year term, with a current salary of $106,812.