Golden Opportunity

Tompkins County Democrat Wins Straw Poll In Bid For Congress

Community members gathered inside the Randolph Fire Hall on Saturday morning to hear the Democratic candidates for the 23rd Congressional District speak. A straw vote was also held, with the Tompkins County Democrat Ian Golden, pictured, winning with 30 percent of the vote. P-J photos by Jordan W. Patterson

RANDOLPH — In an act of solidarity, Democratic candidates for the 23rd Congressional District joined each other Saturday morning to pitch their campaign to community members.

Those who attended also voted in a mock straw vote among Democratic candidates. Ian Golden finished first with 30 percent of the straw vote. Close behind was Eddie Sundquist with 26 percent; Tracy Mitrano with 24 percent; and Max Della Pia with 14 percent of the vote. The rest of the candidates, Rick Gallant, Karl Warrington, Charles Whalen and John Hertzler finished below 10 percent.

Norman Green, chairman of the Chautauqua County Democratic Committee, estimated that 200 people participated in the straw vote. The two other Democratic Committee Chairs, Frank Pagulski and Mike McCormick, were in attendance as well.

Inside the Randolph Fire Hall people gathered to hear each candidate speak and were allowed to meet each Democrat. Voters were encouraged to ask questions and challenge the prospective democratic candidates.

While each candidate will be running against one another, they agreed on one thing: defeat incumbent Rep. Tom Reed. Green said each candidate has no conflict with one another and each understands what they’re up against.

“Everyone is united in the idea that Tom Reed is the candidate that they’re going to be running against,” he said.

Reed has held the seat for Congress in the 23rd district in New York for four two-year terms.

Green said the idea for the straw vote was to introduce candidates to the public and allow voters to meet who the person they might be voting for.

“The inspiration is to bring energy to the southern tier for our candidates and our party and all that’s going on in this country,” Green said about the straw vote.

Each candidates highlighted their biggest concerns about the 23rd district. Among those concerns were job growth, education and the opioid problem. While each candidate pitched their campaign goals, each one spoke highly of the other candidates.

“Are their values parallel to our values?” Green said this was the primary question voters should be asking.

The Congressional primary and election is in November 2018 while local elections are being held on Nov. 7, 2017.