Republican chairman expects big turnout in today’s primaries
‘It would be hard not to know there is an election going on.’ – Skip Draper, chairman of the Orleans County Republican Party
Today is primary day and the chairman of the Orleans County Republican Party expects a big turnout even though the date of the primary is in June, rather than the usual September.
The local primary calendar was moved up to align with the schedule for state and federal primaries.
“It’s different but there has been plenty of advertisements,” said Skip Draper, the GOP chairman. “It would be hard not to know there is an election going on.”
The change in the calendar didn’t give candidates as much time to prepare their campaigns, from meeting with party officials for endorsements to securing names on petitions.
Normally a candidate needs signatures from at least 5 percent of registered voters in their party. That threshold was lowered this year to 3 percent for the town and county offices. Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved the reduction due to the shortened election calendar.
“There was short notice about the change,” Draper said. “We didn’t have as much prep time. Ultimately I think it’s a good thing (to have the primaries in June).”
There are several primaries today, headed by a countywide race for sheriff. Randy Bower, the incumbent sheriff, isn’t seeking re-election. Undersheriff Chris Bourke, the second in command at the Sheriff’s Office, is running for sheriff against Brett Sobieraski, a sergeant with the Rochester Police Department. Bourke and Sobieraski both live in Carlton.
Sobieraski campaigned with Tom Drennan four years ago to be Drennan’s undersheriff. Drennan was the chief deputy at the time. Bower would win a close election for sheriff over Drennan.
Bower in 2015 won the Republican primary, with a razor-thin 27-vote lead, 1,588 to 1,561, on primary day. When the absentee ballots were counted a few days later, Bower won 1,671 to 1,650.
There were 3,321 voters in that primary. The Orleans County Board of Elections has 5,800 ballots ready for today. That includes enough for a 50 percent turnout in towns that have town races, and 45 percent for the other towns with no town races but still the hotly contested sheriff’s election.
The candidates in the primary races include:
• Orleans County: Sheriff — Brett Sobieraski and Christopher Bourke
• Clarendon: Highway Superintendent — Tracy Bruce Chalker and Robert Freida
• Murray: Town Supervisor — Robert Miller and Joseph Sidonio
• Murray: Town Councilman (2 positions) — Neil Valentine, Dirk Lammes and Lloyd Christ Jr.
• Ridgeway: Town Supervisor — Brian Napoli and David Stalker
• Ridgeway: Town Councilman (2 positions) — Mary Woodruff, Sarah Fisher and Duane Payne
• Shelby: Highway Superintendent — Dale Root and Michael Fuller
• Murray: Town Supervisor — Robert Miller and an opportunity to ballot
• Murray: Town Councilman (2 positions) — Neil Valentine, Lloyd Christ Jr. and an opportunity to ballot
• Delegates to the 8th Judicial District, 144th Assembly District (Shelby in Orleans County) — Darla Schultz Bubar and Ciara Haylett
• Alternate Delegates to the 8th Judicial District, 144th Assembly District (Shelby in Orleans County) — Brian Michel and David Haylett Jr.
Working Families Party
• Delegates to the 8th Judicial District, 144th Assembly District (Shelby in Orleans County) — Jeffrey Gaston and Donald Kirsch
The polls are open from noon to 9 p.m.