JAMESTOWN – Registered Republicans living in Jamestown will likely have to make a few choices in this years’s local primary election.
As WRFA reported on Wednesday, both current city councilman Andrew Liuzzo (At Large) and current county legislator David Wilfong (District 11) have announced their intention to run for the open seat of mayor.
On Tuesday night the Jamestown Republican Committee voted to endorse Wilfong over Liuzzo in the run for mayor.
WRFA talked with Jamestown Republican Committee Chair Brent Sheldon Wednesday about the endorsement and he explained why the committee is backing Wilfong.
“We talked to quite a few people about running for mayor, especially after Mayor Teresi announced he wasn’t going to run for another term. We had several people say they just couldn’t do it at this point. But Dave had been high on our radar for quite a while. He’s got a lot of experience as a county legislator. He’s been a proven tax cutter, cutting the county tax rate. He works well with both sides of the aisle us in Mayville. He’s been a very productive member up there and very highly respected. We think we have a very excellent candidate who has a very good shot of winning the office in November.”
Of course in order for Wilfong to win the November election he first must get past the Republican Primary. Liuzzo said following Tuesday night’s endorsement by the party committee that he would still be seeking the rank-and-file voters support in the June primary – something he alluded to last week when he was a guest on WRFA’s community matters program.
“The people of the city of Jamestown have a choice. It’s something they haven’t had for the past few years and I think that’s a good thing. We’ll just have to wait and see how it all plays out,” Liuzzo said.
Even though Wilfong received the backing of the GOP committee, Sheldon tells WRFA it wasn’t unanimous and Liuzzo also received some support from party officials.
“He put his name up for nomination and members had a choice between he and David Wilfong. After quite a bit of discussion most members felt that Wilfong was the best candidate,” Sheldon said.
SHeldon didn’t want to disclose the actual vote, only to say Wilfong received the majority number of votes.
In addition to the GOP mayoral primary, WRFA has learned that local resident Raven Mason will challenge long-time incumbent Tony Dolce for the party nomination in his Ward 2 city council seat. Dolce has served in that seat for the past two decades while Mason has not previously held political office.
Meanwhile, Sheldon tells us that other Republican candidates running for city offices in 2019 include incumbent Kim Ecklund for council at large and himself, also an incumbent in Ward 1.
He added that other candidates are still invited to come forward and run for other seats on the city council currently held by Democrats or which are open. They include seats in Wards 3 and 6.
Petitions to run for local office will be circulated starting February 26.
WRFA has scheduled an interview with Wilfong to discuss his run for mayor and it will be broadcast on Thursday, Feb. 28 during our weekly Community Matters program.