Arnold withdraws from State Senate race

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 August 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – Gia Arnold is pictured at the Lyndonville parade of July 4, one of numerous campaign events she has attended since announcing her campaign in March.

HOLLEY – A political newcomer who won a following with her fearless campaign for the State Senate has withdrawn from the race.

Gia Arnold, 24, said she had an extramarital affair in early August. She admitted to the relationship because “I believe honesty and integrity are of utmost importance in life.”

Arnold made character issues a key part of her platform. She emerged in the public eye last year as one of the most outspoken critics of the SAFE Act. She crisscrossed the state leading rallies against the gun control law.

In March, she launched her campaign for State Senate against George Maziarz. She had support for the race, including from some high-ranking officials. When she made her announcement in Niagara Falls, Carl Paladino, the former GOP candidate for governor, was at her side.

She ran a high-energy campaign the past five months with numerous public appearances at parades, county fairs, local libraries and other sites. She was typically joined by her husband Jeremy and their three young children.

“I hope that all I have disappointed will understand that I am only human and imperfect,” she said in a statement.

On her Facebook page, many of her supporters are encouraging her to stay in the race.

“I think it is a huge mistake to fold now,” one supporter wrote. “Scandal is nothing new to politics. I understand that marriages fail but to cave to political pressure only perpetuates dirty politics. Stay in it. You are scaring the left.”

Maziarz decided against seeking re-election last month. North Tonawanda Mayor Rob Ortt became the endorsed candidate for the Republican, Independence and Conservative parties.

Arnold and her supporters secured signatures to force the Republican Primary, which is set for Sept. 9. But Arnold is withdrawing from that contest.

“It is with sincerest apologies that I must step away from actively campaigning this election cycle,” she said. “I have appreciated all of the support, encouragement, and donations along the way and hope to continue the relationships that I have made further.”

Ortt can now focus on the November election, where he will be pitted against Johnny Destino, a Niagara Falls attorney who has been endorsed by the Democratic Party.