Republican primary candidates in the 57th Senate District have been quietly slugging it out for the past six weeks.
Allegany County Legislature Chairman Curtis Crandall and Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello are in the home stretch of the race that ends with the primary vote on June 25.
Borrello is the endorsed candidate in the primary, with three of the four Republican county chairmen in the district naming him as their candidate to run for the seat vacated by Catharine M. Young, R-Olean, on March 10.
Borrello has the Conservative and Independence party lines.
The Democratic candidate in November is Austin Morgan, a recent Cornell graduate and former Senate intern, of Freedom.
Young held the seat for 14 years after succeeding the late Patricia K. McGee. The special election to fill Young’s seat will not occur until the November election. The Olean Republican resigned to become executive director of the Cornell Center for Excellence for Food and Agriculture in Geneva.
Crandall of Belfast, who has served as Allegany County Legislature chairman for 14 years, said Thursday he’s been meeting with groups in Cattaraugus and Allegany counties, and has held question and answer events with Borrello.
“Folks are familiar with me in Allegany, Cattaraugus and Livingston counties,” Crandall said. “There’s a decent amount of support (in) Cattaraugus County” despite the endorsement of Borrello by GOP Chairman Robert C. Keis Sr.
“The key is getting people out to vote,” Crandall said. “My experience separates me and I have a conservative approach to issues.”
Allegany County property taxes have gone down nine years in a row, he said.
The 32-day pre-primary report filed by the Curt Crandall for Senate Committee shows he raised a little more than $5,000, mostly from Allegany County Republicans. He and his wife Cathy also loaned his campaign $5,000.
On Thursday, Crandall said he had raised about $10,000 in the latest campaign report.
“I’ll be a solid voice for the people of the 57th Senate District.” Crandall said. He’d continue to support many of the issues Young, the former state senator, had been working on and would be a strong Second Amendment advocate.
Crandall, a businessman, said he was spending time going across the four county Senate district. “I’ve spent a lot of time with various groups and at events. The more people you meet the better,” he said.
Crandall said his campaign signs are going up across the district as of Thursday. “The signs are going up as we speak.”
Crandall and Borrello will meet in question-and-answer sessions three times over the next week. A Chautauqua County League of Women Voters forum is scheduled for Monday in Dunkirk, followed by a live radio debate at a Jamestown radio station next Thursday and a live debate on WJQZ radio in Wellsville on Friday, June 21.
District residents he speaks with are opposed to legalizing marijuana, as does Crandall. “It looks like it may not happen this session. The next senator will have to deal with it.”
Crandall’s opposition to legalization stems from the opposition of law enforcement and health groups who are particularly concerned with more people driving while impaired by marijuana.
“The other big issue is state mandated costs on local governments, Crandall said.
Borrello, a Fredonia entrepreneur and the Chautauqua County executive since 2017, won endorsement of GOP chairmen from Chautauqua, Cattaraugs and Livingston counties in a bid to succeed Young, a 14-year Senate veteran.
“I’m going to finish (the primary) the way I started,” Borrello said. “I’m going to try to meet as many people as possible across the district. We’ve had a great response up in Livingston and Cattaraugus counties. The concerns are much the same in all the counties. We feel our voice is not being heard in Albany.”
Borrello said, “The radical New York City agenda has taken us far from where we were. We need someone to carry on after Cathy Young, to continue her legacy and forge a new path.”
He said he thought it was shameful that Albany was poised to spend $27 million for college for undocumented immigrants at the same time lawmakers balked at paying for college for the children of fallen members of the armed forces.
“That was shameful,” Borrello said, pointing out Gov. Andrew Cuomo realized what was going on and stepped in with a political solution to aid the children of fallen heroes. “For me, this is truly about being there (Albany) and pushing back against this radical New York City agenda.”
He said he plans to set goals and achieve those goals by working collaboratively with other people .
Borrello’s initial report showed he had raised about $20,000. He said on Thursday that the later report shows he has raised between $30,000 and $35,000.
“My main message is that I have a strong track record of listening to the needs of people and the needs of business,” Borrello said. “I plan to learn every square inch of the district and be the same kind of representative as Cathy Young.”