City Democratic Committee Chair Jim Walton tells WRFA that he has called a search committee to identify and talk with potential candidates, adding that there are already three individuals being considered. However, Walton didn’t want to provide names until the full committee has an opportunity to meet with any and all individuals interested in running.
Walton said the search committee will likely begin the process of talking with potential Democratic candidates next week, with the full committee meeting to likely give an official endorsement on Thursday, Feb. 21.
The search for a Democratic candidate is due to long-time Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi’s announcement earlier this week that he would not be seeking a sixth term in office.
Meanwhile, the Jamestown Republican Committee will also start the process of choosing an endorsement for its canidate in the mayoral race next week on Wednesday, Feb. 13. So far only city councilman Andrew Liuzzo (R-At Large) has come forward to announce his intention to run for mayor. And while Liuzzo is a Republican, it doesn’t guarantee he will be the committee’s endorsement.
Because of recent changes in state election law, the schedule that candidates must follow in order to run for office has been moved up this year. In the past the local primary didn’t take place until the first Tuesday in September, which mean the process for running for office didn’t begin until later in the calendar year.
Any candidate for local office in the 2019 elections – including the mayoral race – will have to wait until Feb. 26 before they can circulating petitions to run for office, with a deadline of April 1 to submit their petitions. A candidate must collect signatures of 5 percent of the enrolled active voters of the political party on a petition (or 1,000 – whichever is fewer) in order to get their name on the ballot. If more than one person from the same party exceeds the required threshold of signatures then a primary race will take place on Tuesday, June 25. An enrolled active voter from a political party is not allowed to sign petitions for more than one candidate seeking the same office.
To learn more about recent New York State election law changes and what candidates need to know if planning to run for office in 2019, tune in to WRFA’s weekly public affairs program Community Matters on Thursday at 5 p.m. During the second half of the show we’ll be talking with Chautauqua County Board of Elections Commissioner Norman Green. Also during the first half of the show, Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi will discuss his recent announcement, as well as further details into initiatives he laid out in his 2019 State of the City report.