Candidate petitions were submitted to the Chautauqua County Board of Elections last week and of the 19 seats that will be up for a vote, just seven have more than one candidate running.
JAMESTOWN AREA WILL FEATURE ONE CONTESTED RACE
In Jamestown, the lone contested race will be for District 12 on the north side of the city. Currently, Republican Elisabeth Rankin holds that seat and she is running for reelection. She will face Democratic challenger Margaret “Peg” Cornell.
All other candidates from the Jamestown area who serve on the county legislature are running unopposed. That includes the candidate for District 11, a seat currently held by Republican David Wilfong. Because Wilfong is running for mayor of Jamestown in this year’s election, the district 11 seat will be an open race. However, only Democrat and former county legislator Robert Whitney has submitted petitions to run for that seat. Whitney last served on the legislature in 2013, when he was defeated by Wilfong in that year’s election.
The other Jamestown-area seats all have incumbents running unopposed. They include Chuck Nazzaro, D-District 9 (Jamestown); Paul “PJ” Wendel, R-District 10 (Busti/Lakewood and Jamestown); Paul Whitford, D-District 13 (Jamestown); Daniel Pavlock, R-District 14 (Ellicott north of I-86, Gerry, Ellington, Charlotte/Sinclairville); Lisa Vanstrom, R-District 15 (Ellicott/Falconer, West Ellicott/Celoron); John Davis, R-District 16 (Carroll, Kiantone, Poland); and Frank Gould, R-District 17 (Busti, Harmony/Panama, Clymer, French Creek).
REPUBLICAN PRIMARIES SCHEDULED FOR DISTRICT 1 and DISTRICT 18
Other races of note include District 18 (Chautauqua/Mayville, Mina, Sherman), which is now an open seat after the untimely passing of Republican David Himelein. The two candidates running for that seat are Richard Syper and Bill Ward, both of Mayville. Both Ward and Syper and seeking the Republican party endorsement, meaning they will square off in the June 25 primary. Syper has also been endorsed by the conservative party, while Ward is the lone candidate for the Democratic, Independence, and Working families parties.
Another Republican Primary will take place in District 1 (Dunkirk), where current incumbent Kevin Muldowney (R) is being challenged for the party line by Ronald Hall. Muldowney has also been endorsed by the Independence party, while Hall has been endorsed by the Conservative party. Meanwhile, a third candidate – Phillip Collier – is the lone candidate for the Democratic and Working Families parties. That means regardless of how the Republican primary shakes out in that district, there will still likely be a three-way race come November.
Other contested races for the legislature will take place in District 3 (Pomfret/Fredonia) with incumbent Robert Scudder (R, C) facing challenger Christopher Schaeffer (D, I), in District 4 (Fredonia) with incumbent Christine Starks (D, I, WF) facing Melanie Mann (R, C), in District 5 (Arkwright, Cherry Creek, Sheridan, Villanova) with incumbent Terry Neibel (R, C, I) facing Jeffry Sayers (D, WF), and in District 6 (Hanover/Silver Creek/Forestville) with incumbent Kevin O’Connell (D, I, WF) facing Thomas Harmon (R, C).
The other four legislature incumbents running unopposed include Robert Bankowski, D-District 2 (Dunkirk); Mark O’Dell, R-District 7 (Chautauqua, Portland/Brockton, Stockton); Pierre Chagnon, R-District 8 (Ellery/Bemus Point, North Harmony), and John Hemmer, R-District 19 (Ripley, Westfield).
While the petition deadline has passed for candidate to get their name on the ballot for a specific party, it’s still not to late for the party to place a candidate on the ballot. Any party that currently doesn’t have a candidate listed for any office up for election can still file for an Opportunity to Ballot, or could circulate an Independent petition accompanied by mail, pointing out that the candidate is endorsed by the party.