Under state law, any candidate seeking office and who wants to have their name appear on the November ballot must collect signatures equaling at least 5 percent of the number of active enrolled voters in the political party they want to run under.
Because the primary day for local elections was recently pushed up from September to June, candidates seeking local office are now on an earlier schedule and will begin circulating petitions starting Feb. 26, rather than later in the year during the Spring.
This year New York officially recognizes eight political parties: the Conservative, Democratic, Green, Independence, Libertarian, Republican, SAM, and Working Families parties. Candidates also have the rarely used option of creating their own political party to run under but must first wait until the petition period has ended for the recognized parties before embarking on the challenging task of creating their own political party designation.
Locally it appears all candidates who’ve already announced their intention to run for office will run as either a Republican or Democrat, with the option of seeking a cross-endorsement from an eligible third-party.
Candidates for Mayor
In Jamestown, current mayor Sam Teresi (D) announced at the start of February he would not be seeking a sixth term in office.
Currently, there are three known mayoral candidates running for the open seat who will be circulating petitions to get their name on the ballot for either the Republican or Democratic parties.
For the Democrats, Attorney Eddie Sundquist is the Jamestown Democratic Committee’s endorsed candidate for mayor and it appears he is the only person seeking the party’s nomination.
On the Republican side, two individuals will be circulating petitions. They are county legislator David Wilfong, who is also the Jamestown Republican Committee’s endorsed candidate, along with city councilman at large Andrew Liuzzo, who is running despite not getting the committee’s backing.
If both Liuzzo and Wilfong collect the required number of signatures from registered Republicans living within the city, then a Republican party primary for mayor will take place in June. As of Feb. 1, 2019, there were a reported 3782 registered Republicans in the city. That means the minimum number of signatures needed to qualify as a mayoral candidate for that party is 190.
Candidates for City Council
In addition to the mayoral candidates, there will also be city residents running as candidates for the Jamestown City Council who will begin circulating petitions on Tuesday.
The GOP committee endorsed candidates include incumbents Brent Sheldon (Ward 1), Tony Dolce (Ward 2) and Kim Eckund (At Large). Other Republican committee-endorsed candidates for city council include Brittnay Spry, (Ward 4), Grant Olson (Ward 5), Greg Lindquist (at large) and Jeffrey Russell (at Large).
In addition to the GOP committee endorsed candidates, WRFA has learned that city resident Raven Mason is also running for Ward 2 council seat and if she is able to collect enough signatures she will force a primary with Dolce. There are 575 registered Republicans in Ward 2, meaning both Dolce and Mason will have to collect 29 signatures apiece in order to qualify as a candidate for that party and force a June primary.
Meanwhile on the Democratic Side, there is a full slate of endorsed candidates for city council. They include incumbents Marie Carrubba (Ward 4 and current council president), Vickye James (Ward 3), Maria Jones (Ward 5), Tom Nelson (Ward 6), and Tamu Graham-Reinhardt (At-Large).
In addition, the committee is endorsing past council member and city council president Greg Rabb,who is again running as an at-large candidate after being defeated in 2017. The Democrats other at large candidate will be newcomer Taylor Scott. Rounding out the slate of candidates for city council will be newcomer Tim Smeal (Ward 1) along with Tom Vitale (Ward 2).
All candidates have until April 4 to collect the required signatures and return the petitions to the county board of elections, which will certify the petitions. That includes making sure voters did not sign a petition for more candidates than there are openings for an office. For example, if there is one council seat open, then the eligible party members signing a petition may only sign one petition for a candidate for that office. If there are three seats open (as is the case with the city council at large seats), the eligible party members may sign petitions for up to three candidates.