For all of the candidates running to succeed long-time New York State Senator Michael Nozzolio in the New York State Senate’s 54th District – it has been a deeply personal endeavor.
Over the last several months FingerLakes1.com has had several of the Republican candidates running to succeed Nozzolio in-studio to discuss the race, their campaigns, and how they all vary from each other on the issues.
New York State Assemblyman Bill Nojay, who passed away from a self-inflicted gun wound on Friday, called this election one of the most-important in the state in a conversation with FingerLakes1.com Editor Josh Durso less than 24-hours before his passing.
This race is important for the district, as voters choose a candidate to replace one of the most-effective and well-liked politicians in New York history.
In many ways, the 54th District is the glue that holds together the entire state. It connects Western New York, the Southern Tier, Central New York, and provides the teeth of New York’s tourism engine.
There are a host of unique and important problems, which voters will have to prioritize as they head out to polling places on Tuesday.
Do they want a business-first representative in Albany? Those voters may be drawn to a candidate like Floyd Rayburn of Bobby Massarini.
Are they looking for a politician who will wade through policy like someone who has done it for decades before? Those voters might choose to cast a vote for Canandaigua Supervisor Pam Helming or former Assemblyman Sean Hanna.
Do voters want a representative who has roots in farming? Those voters might consider casting their vote for Lyons Town Supervisor Brian Manktelow.
What about voters who are looking for someone with experience in the law enforcement field? Well, those voters may choose to cast a vote for Jon Ritter, a retired law enforcement officer from the district.
While voters have been receiving mailers (even some unmarked) over the last several weeks – Tuesday’s primary is important because it could complicate the election in November. Many of the Republican candidates opposing Helming – are doing so as “outsiders” to the political system. Candidates like Rayburn, Massarini, Ritter, and even to some degree – Manktelow – say Helming is the “establishment’s choice,” which runs counter to what they believe voters need.
Many of them call for term-limits, action on taxes, as well as unfunded mandates. They universally believe that failed government in Albany, ultimately has created the problems felt throughout Upstate New York – but specifically in the 54th District.
While Helming fundamentally aligns with the other Republican candidates on most-issues, her opponents criticize her for being “Albany’s Choice.” She received the support of her party earlier this year at a nominating convention, which lasted hours – as local committee members chose Helming to be the Republican nominee to succeed Nozzolio.
Interestingly, a victory for a candidate other than Helming in Tuesday’s primary would mean an expanded field in November, since she will appear on three additional ballot lines. If two Republicans appear on the ticket, it becomes increasingly likely that Rose Supervisor Kenan Baldridge, a Democrat, will be able to compete directly with an equalized field.
Republicans have a 14,000 registered voter advantage over Democrats, which many believe is enough to ensure a victory in November. However, two Republican candidates in the field could mean a split vote, which would erase that advantage and open the door for Baldridge.
Even with the intense coverage as of late, voters may feel like they are short on information, but FingerLakes1.com has them covered.
Below you can watch exclusive, one-on-one interviews with the candidates running for the 54th District, who will appear in Tuesday’s Republican Primary. These interviews originally appeared on Inside the FLX, a political podcast hosted by FingerLakes1.com Editor Josh Durso.
Ontario County Businessman Floyd Rayburn on Inside the FLX
Canandaigua Supervisor Pam Helming on Inside the FLX
Lyons Supervisor Brian Manktelow on Inside the FLX
Cayuga/Seneca County Businessman Bobby Massarini on Inside the FLX
The winner(s) of Tuesday’s primary will face Rose Supevisor Kenan Baldridge, a Democrat, who also appeared in an exclusive one-on-one interview with FingerLakes1.com. This interview first appeared on Inside the FLX, hosted by FingerLakes1.com Editor Josh Durso.
Rose Supervisor Kenan Baldridge on Inside the FLX
For more on the race for the 54th Senate District, be sure to check out the below links from around the region. Highlighting the top-stories from around the FLX on this crucial race:
– Candidate Q&As: Where do 54th state Senate candidates line up on top issues, priorities?
– Republican battle for the 54th Senate District
– National Rifle Association endorses Pam Helming for 54th state Senate
– Evangelical Christian PAC endorses Floyd Rayburn for 54th state Senate
– Messenger Editorial Board endorses ‘hometown’ candidate for 54th District
– Pam Helming: In her own words
– Floyd Rayburn: In his own words
– Jon Ritter: In his own words
– Bobby Massarini: In his own words
– Brian Manktelow: In his own words
– Preview: Five Republicans looking to succeed Nozzolio face off in Tuesday’s primary
– Auburn Republicans: Here’s who votes — and who doesn’t — in Tuesday’s primary
FingerLakes1.com’s coverage of the race for the 54th District:
– VIDEO: Interview with Rose Supervisor Kenan Baldridge on Inside the FLX
– VIDEO: Interview with Canandaigua Supervisor Pam Helming on Inside the FLX
– VIDEO: Interview with Ontario County Supervisor Charlie Evangelista on Inside the FLX
– VIDEO: Interview with Lyons Supervisor Brian Manktelow on Inside the FLX
– VIDEO: Interview with businessman Bobby Massarini on Inside the FLX
– Rayburn wins support of another group, Helming defends spending
– 54th District: Cast set for Sept. 13 Republican primary
– Manktelow campaign has $48K in bank, spent $12K thus far
– Joe Geiger talks about why his campaign for the 54th Senate District ended abruptly
– Two Democrats kicked off ballot in Cayuga County-area state legislative races