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State of the City County 9.JPG

Cayuga County Legislator Keith Batman delivers the State of the County address in March 2017. Batman, a Democrat, is running for state Assembly. 

Keith Batman, a former chair of the Cayuga County Legislature and past Scipio town official, has formally announced that he will seek the Democratic nomination in the 126th Assembly District race. 

Batman created a campaign committee last month but said at the time he hadn't made a final decision on whether he would run for state Assembly. 

Nearly two weeks after he filed paperwork with the state Board of Elections to create the Batman for Assembly committee, he announced he is vying to become a state legislator. 

"As assemblyman, I will bring the attitude toward work taught me by father and mother: first and foremost being present, doing the job and treating all people fairly," Batman said in a statement. "Whether in Albany or Auburn, Onondaga, Cortland, Chenango or Cayuga counties, I will show up, work and deliver." 

Batman is serving his second term as a Cayuga County legislator representing District 7, which is comprised of Ledyard, Scipio and Springport. In 2016 and 2017, he was chairman of the county Legislature. 

Before being elected to the Cayuga County Legislature, Batman was Scipio town supervisor and a member of the Southern Cayuga school board. He has a long career in education, including a stint as dean of continuing education at Cayuga Community College. 

"I am a middle-class worker, whose parents taught me the principles of hard work and responsibility to family and community," Batman said. "The first and primary job of an assemblyperson is to represent the district and its citizens, get funding for projects, and help find solutions to local problems. You can count on me to listen, understand, and act." 

Ian Phillips, chairman of the Cayuga County Democratic Committee, said the party will discuss an endorsement in the Assembly race "in the coming weeks." 

Auburn Mayor Michael Quill added, "I am excited about Keith's bid for the Assembly 126 seat. He will bring to the Assembly the same focus and concern for our city that he has brought to the Cayuga County Legislature." 

If Batman secures the Democratic nomination, he will likely challenge Assemblyman Gary Finch. Finch, R-Springport, has been in office since 1999. 

Finch hasn't announced whether he will seek re-election this year. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday. 

Democrats are hopeful that they can win this seat in 2018. Finch has faced major party opposition in each of the past two elections. 

In 2014, Democratic candidate Diane Dwire received significant backing from the Assembly Democrats' campaign committee. The group invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the race, most of which was used to pay for Dwire's television commercials. 

Despite being outspent, Finch won the race by 10 points. He defeated Dwire, D-Camillus, again in 2016. 

Dwire won't seek the Democratic nomination for a third time this year. She is supporting Batman's campaign.

"We need more people like Keith in public service and in the Assembly," she said. 

Republicans hold an enrollment advantage in the 126th Assembly District, which covers parts of Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland and Onondaga counties. As of April 1, there are 31,903 active GOP voters and 25,911 registered Democrats in the district. 

Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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