Two separate primary elections are facing us in New York–June 28th and August 23rd. In addition to that, a special election is also scheduled on August 23rd to elect a representative in Congress to replace Tom Reed.
Just to confuse things more, for those of us in the Southern Tier, we now have new Congressional District boundaries that have been established for next year. Thus, in the Republican primary on August 23,rd we have candidates from Erie County running for Congress who don’t currently live in the existing 23rd Southern Tier District–namely , Carl Paladino and Nick Langworthy. So that means the Republicans are running a “place holder” in the Special Election (the Republican County Chairman from Steuben County) who won’t have his name on the ballot to be our Congressman for next year, but who hopes to be elected for the 4 months left in Tom Reed’s term.
The Democrats are in a bit better position since Max Della Pia has run for Congress before, lives in and knows the Southern Tier and is running to both finish Tom Reed’s term as well as running for the seat in November. (Since reapportionment took Tioga County out of the new 23rd District, he would move into a neighboring Southern Tier county if elected in November in order to continue to have his residence in the District.) As a retired Colonel in the Air Force and graduate of the Air Force Academy, Della Pia should have a leg-up with veterans and on national defense issues.
The situation for the Republicans is further complicated in that Mr. Langworthy is also the New York State Republican Chairman, and some Republican leaders have been criticizing him for trying to “wear two hats,” i.e. running for Congress while still being state chairman. Both Langworthy and Paladino are close to Donald Trump but, thus far, Trump has made no endorsement in the contest.
All things being equal, one would think that Carl Paladino has the best shot at becoming our next Congressman, since he did very well here when he ran for Governor in 2010. Yet, Nick Langworthy has some significant local roots. He grew up in South Dayton and his father is a longtime, well-known businessman who owns the Bullfrog Hotel here in town. Plus, Langworthy, as New York State Republican chairman, has big connections in being able to raise money for the campaign.
Originally, the date for primaries in New York this year was set for June 28th. However, a lawsuit on gerrymandering was commenced in Bath, New York and the court there ordered new district lines and state Senate and Congressional primaries were pushed back to August 23.
Because of all the confusion, my best advice is that you circle both dates on your calendar: June 28 and August 23. You should be voting on both days!
June 28 is still the date for the Republican and Democratic Primary for Governor and Lieutenant Governor. In a reversal of what is usual and normal, this year Republicans running for the state’s highest offices are from downstate; whereas, the endorsed candidates for the Democrats are from upstate.
Are you still confused? If so, join the crowd — it is a “topsy-turvy” year in politics!
Rolland Kidder is a Stow resident.