Yates County DA race gets testy
PENN YAN — A primary is set for Sept. 12 in the race for Yates County district attorney between incumbent Valerie Gardner and challenger Todd Casella, but the party lines where the incumbent and her challenger will do battle has narrowed.
Additionally, a challenge to Casella’s nominating petitions for the all-important Republican line is in question.
The Yates County Board of Elections confirmed on Friday that the designating petitions on three party lines filed by Casella have been ruled either invalid or null and void.
Casella’s nominating petitions were challenged by Penelope J. Marchionda, a member of the Yates County Republican Committee, according to campaign filings in 2016 with the state Board of Elections.
In the case of Casella’s nominating petitions for the Independence and Reform party lines, the Board of Elections ruled in favor of Marchionda, with reasons ranging from “invalid notary acknowledgement” to invalid signatures.
On the Conservative line, the Board of Elections ruled that the “candidate’s request for authorization to run on the Conservative line was not approved by the New York State Conservative Party.”
Casella’s designating petitions for the GOP line in the primary contained 664 signatures (331 are needed in Yates County) and they were deemed valid.
However, said Republican Election Commissioner Amy Daines, each challenge also contained an objection relating to Casella’s residency.
In various election filings, said Daines, there appear to be different home addresses reported by Casella.
However, the Board of Elections stated in its ruling that the residency issue was one that it could not by law rule on. Thus, Casella remains on the GOP line for the September primary.
Marchionda subsequently filed suit on Thursday, asking that Casella be pulled from the Republican line in the Sept. 11 primary. Casella and the Board of Elections’ Daines, as well as Democratic Commissioner Robert Brechko, are also named.
The matter is scheduled to before Justice John Ark in state Supreme Court in Rochester on Aug. 7.By STEVE BUCHIERE firstname.lastname@example.org