Republicans may face Schuyler legislature primaries

Months away from the start of election petition season, four candidates have announced they are eyeing two Schuyler County Legislature seats.

All the candidates are Republicans, and if each turns in an accepted petition, two of the county’s new legislative districts will have primaries before the November election.

Petitions may be carried by candidates for one month starting in early June.

Barbara Halpin, of Odessa, and Glenn Larison, of Odessa, have announced they will seek the single seat in the county’s new District 1, which will cover the towns of Catharine and Cayuta. They are both incumbent legislators, representing the current district for Catharine, Cayuta and the town of Hector.

Thomas Gifford and James Howell, both of Montour Falls, said they will be candidates for the single seat in the new District 4. Gifford is a current lawmaker, representing the towns of Dix and Montour.

The new District 4 will include parts of the towns of Montour and Hector.

The county redistricting was approved by voters in November. It creates eight legislative districts, each represented by one legislator, from the current three districts, represented by a total of eight.

Because Gifford was elected to a district that has since been redrawn, redistricting law includes a provision that allows him to stay on as a ninth legislator in 2014.

County Attorney Geoffrey Rossi has said that Gifford can run for the new District 4 position without giving up his current seat. If Gifford is not elected, he would remain as a lawmaker for one year to fulfill his elected term.

The single positions in new legislative Districts 2 and 3 also will be on the November ballot. Both districts cover parts of the town of Hector.

Following staggered elections in 2013, 2014 and 2015, each of the eight new legislative districts will be represented by the start of 2016.

County officials have said they hope to inform registered voters of their new legislative districts and polling places well before the state-required August notification.

4:10 PM, Mar 9, 2013