The state’s new political calendar is speeding up the nomination process for Cattaraugus County Legislature candidates.
Both Republicans and Democratic party officials say they plan full slates of candidates for all 17 County Legislature seats.
Republicans currently control 12 of the 17 seats.
Three county lawmakers — two Republicans and one Democrat — won’t be able to run again because they have served three consecutive four-year terms and are term-limited.
They are: Legislature Chairman James J. Snyder, R-Olean; Majority Leader Donna Vickman, R-Farmersville; and Olean Democrat John Padlo.
“Ten of the 12 Republicans will run again,” Keis said. He said he has been working on finding candidates for the other seven seats. Town committees are also working on candidates.
Republican legislators seeking re-election are: Andrew Burr and Richard Klancer of Gowanda, Joseph Boberg and Richard Helmich of Delevan, Robert Breton of Franklinville, Howard VanRensselaer of Randolph, Norman March of Little Valley, Vice Chairman Dan Hale of Portville, Joseph Snyder of Ischua and Frank Higgins of Olean.
Democratic Party Chairman Frank Puglisi said in a telephone interview earlier this month all four Democrats will seek re-election, noting Padlo was barred by term limits from seeking re-election or appointment for two years.
“We will have a full slate,” he said.
Those Democrats seeking re-election are: Minority Leader Susan Labuhn and David Koch of Salamanca, and Vergilio “Dick Giardini and Barbara Hastings of Allegany.
“We’ve been working to get candidates for probably the past six months,” Puglisi said.
The Democratic chairman said he wasn’t convinced the early petition deadline give an edge to incumbent legislators. “This caught the Republicans off guard,” he said.
“I think it’s an open race for County Legislature this year,” Puglisi said. “Democrats will enter strong candidates and call out the GOP for their record.”
Puglisi said one campaign issue was bound to be the Republican-sponsored health insurance coverage vote earlier this month for the four coroners, all Republicans.
Puglisi and the Democrats must come up with 13 candidates on top of the four Democrats seeking re-election, while Keis and the Republicans with 10 seeking re-election need only to find seven candidates.
Keis said he hadn’t heard of any instances where there would be primaries in any of the eight election districts, but didn’t rule it out.
“It’s always a possibility,” Keis said. It would have to happen quickly. “It’s not like they’ve got until June now to decide.”
(Contact reporter Rick Miller at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)