The Quiet Republican Primary For The State Senate

There is a big Republican Primary election coming up on June 25th, and you would hardly know it. Things have been very quiet in the race for the Republican nomination for state senator from the 57th District — Cathy Young’s former position.

We all know that our County Executive, George Borrello, is running but most of the news about him has been dealing with Chautauqua County government. His opponent, Curtis Crandall, from Allegany County has also been saying little about the election.

Crandall has been chairman of the Allegany County Legislature for 14 years. When he announced he was running for the state Senate he said the theme of his campaign would be “common sense leadership works.” He also highlighted the fact that in Allegany County, the county tax rate had decreased for nine consecutive years.

It has been some time since our state senator was a resident of Chautauqua County. That person was Jess Present, a good friend with whom I served in the state Legislature. When Jess passed away, he was replaced by Pat McGee and then Cathy Young–both from Cattaraugus County.

The 57th District is overwhelmingly Republican, so the results of this primary will likely determine who our next state senator will be.

Yet, the job that these men are running for has changed substantially since the last election. For most of her time in office, Cathy Young was in the majority in the state Senate and could “deliver the goods” so to speak when it came to the state budget. That is no longer true, and the Republicans in the state Senate are now vastly out-voted by Democrats and seem headed for permanent minority status … as is currently the case in the state Assembly. (Only 43 of the 150 members of the Assembly are Republicans.)

That fact struck home this year when $250,000 that Cathy Young, in the past, had delivered for the maintenance of Chautauqua Lake was no longer in the state budget. Welcome to the new reality of what it is like when your state senator no longer has much influence in the halls of Albany!

Nonetheless, this is an important primary election for all us. It is my expectation that Chautauqua County Republicans will vote for George Borrello and Allegany County Republicans will support their local leader, Curtis Crandall.

That means that the “swing” vote in the primary will probably be focused on how Republicans vote in Cattaraugus County, which is sandwiched between Chautauqua and Allegany. Though history would predict otherwise, Cattaraugus County could again be the residence of our new state Senator if the Democrat is elected in the general election. Assuming though that voter patterns remain the same and the Republican candidate prevails, it could be the primary voters of Cattaraugus County who will soon be determining who our next representative will be.

We will have to wait until the primary voting is over on June 25 to see how all of this plays out.

Rolland Kidder is a Stow resident.