Twenty-three year veteran State Senator Michael Nozzolio of the 54th District announced that he will not run for re-election this fall. The 54th Senatorial District covers part of the NY23rd (Seneca County, the Eastern portion of Ontario County and the town of Lansing in Tompkins County) along with Wayne and Seneca Counties and one town in Monroe County. Nozzolio also served in the Assembly from 1983 to 1992. He confirmed the decision hinged on the fact that he is being scheduled for open heart surgery.
Nozzolio is known for bringing state funds into the 54th District. He is very popular and was unopposed in most of his elections. With that being said, Assemblyman Bill Nojay (R-C 133rd) has been recruiting republicans to run against Nozzolio in the September primary before his retirement announcement. Nojay explained, “The worst thing of all was that he put a knife in the back of (Senate Majority candidate) John DeFrancisco. He voted for this Long Island liberal (present Majority Leader John Flanagan) who is probably Cuomo’s biggest ally in Albany.” We need to note that Nojay is rated as the New York’s Most Conservative State Assembly member.
Nozzolio’s retirement opens another competitive Senate race in the NY 23rd. This is a chance to tip the Senate’s control from the present 31-31 tie (with one vacant seat) to one party or the other. If it is turned “Blue” then both Legislative bodies, as well as the Executive branch, would be controlled by Democrats. Leslie Danks Burke, running against Tom O’Mara in the 58th District, could also help tip the balance.
John Hurley, Ontario County Democratic Chair is organizing a team to search for a candidate to run for Nozzolio’s seat. “It’s a tough district for a Democrat to win, but it is also a presidential year, so that sometimes makes it a little helpful, because turnout is a little but higher. There will be contested races in parts of the district, so I think it certainly makes what is a difficult challenge for a Democrat easier.”(Finger Lakes Times 2/4/16).
Hurley’s observations that might bode well for democrats this election year–having more democrats on the ballots and that this is an presidential election year and the number of voters will increase. The key is the getting the voters out.
The NY 23rd will be following the race that develops for Nozzolio’s seat. Contact the NY 23rd if other state races develop that affect us. Knowledge is power.