MAYVILLE – Regardless of what happens with a special election for an open state senate seat, Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello (R-Irving) intends to remain focused on county government while he also campaigns to be the region’s next representative in the New York State Senate.
During an interview this week with WRFA, Borrello spent some time offering an update on his election effort. In March Borrello announced that he would be seeking the Republican Party’s endorsement to be its candidate in a special election for the 57th Senate District. The announcement came after former Senator Cathy Young (R-Olean) resigned from the position the first half of March to take a job with Cornell University, less than three months into a new 2-year term in the Senate. It also came with Borrello in just the second year of a four-year term as Chautauqua County Executive.
Borrello has already received endorsement from the majority of the Republican Committee Chairs of the four counties in the 57th Senate District (Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany, and Livingston Counties). In addition, he’s secured enough signatures to get his name on the ballot, should the special election wait until this year’s November General Election.
“We were able to deliver more than double of what was needed as far as signatures, and in a very challenging environments, in the sense that this was the first year [candidates] were collecting petitions for the November elections in March [due to a new state law]. Typically that is something that had been done in June July,” Borrello noted. “Then you had the timing of Senator’s Young announcement, which came after the petition process had already started. And then [Republicans] went through our own series of meetings to determine who would be our chosen candidate here in Chautauqua County. You add that all up and we had less than two weeks to collect all those signatures.”
With the seat being vacated, Governor Andrew Cuomo has the option of setting a special election date to fill the seat prior to November. If that were to take place, then Borrello would be the Republican Party’s endorsed candidate by way of the endorsement from the majority of the four county Republican committees (a rule laid out in state law).
But if the Governor opts to not set a special date for an election to fill the seat, then the special election will automatically be held at the same time as the local elections in November. That is the likely scenario and as a result, all Senate candidates will follow the same procedure as any other candidate would, which means they are required to get their name on the ballot through a petition process. That’s why Borrello circulated nominating petitions for the Republican Party, and also for both the Conservative and Independence Parties.
In addition to Borrello running, Allegany County Legislature Chairman Curtis Crandall (R-Belfast) is also seeking the endorsement of registered Republicans in the district, should the special election take place in November. If both Borrello and Crandall submit enough signatures on their nominating petitions, then a Republican Primary Race for the Senate seat will take place in June. That means Borrello would have to focus more energy into a campaign during the next couple months. However, he says he wont let that district him from his current job as County Executive.
“First and foremost, being county executive is job number one and will continue to be,” Borrello said. “But this is a process and I’ll be happy to go out there and tell people why I’m the right choice. Mr. Crandall is nice man, I’ve met him before at New York State Association of Counties and he’s done a great job as a county legislator in Allegany County. So we’ll move through this process as needed.”
In addition to discussing the campaign during his interview with WRFA, Borrello also discusses several county issues including the recently completed Chautauqua Lake Consensus agreement, the newly announced county economic development alliance, and the impact the new state budget will have on the county.
The interview will be broadcast Thursday at 5 p.m. on Community Matters, with an encore at noon on Sunday.