Tim Lattimore, a longtime elected official in Auburn and Cayuga County, is exploring a run for New York State Senate.
Lattimore, a Republican, is considering whether to seek the Republican nomination in the 50th Senate District. The district includes most of Auburn and the towns of Brutus, Cato, Ira and Sennett in Cayuga County. It also contains several Onondaga County towns and a portion of Syracuse.
"I'm going to try and put Auburn, Cayuga County and upstate New York back on the map," Lattimore said. "I think I can make a difference."
Lattimore, a local insurance broker, is in his third term as a Cayuga County legislator. He served as Auburn mayor from 2004 through 2007 and was a city councilor from 1988 to 1991.
After losing re-election for mayor in 2007, Lattimore was the GOP nominee for mayor in 2011, 2015 and again this year. He lost those three races to incumbent Democrat Michael Quill.
Lattimore says economic development will be a priority for him if elected to the state Senate. He also wants to address the effect of high property taxes and why people are leaving upstate.
If elected, he also wants to ensure there is a check on Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat who is in his third term as the state's chief executive.
"I just think with both houses (controlled by Democrats) as rubber stamps, the state is out of control," Lattimore said. "I think we need to take the Senate back."
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After the 2018 elections, Democrats hold 40 of the 63 seats in the Senate. The 50th district is in GOP hands. State Sen. Bob Antonacci, a Republican, won the seat previously held by John DeFrancisco, who retired in 2018 after more than a quarter-century in office.
It will be an open seat again in 2020. Antonacci was elected to a state Supreme Court judgeship. He will resign from the Senate when he's sworn in as a judge Jan. 1.
At least one candidate is already in the 50th district race. John Mannion, a Democrat who narrowly lost to Antonacci in 2018, is running again. As of Thursday, no other Republicans have publicly announced their intentions to run for the seat.
Even before Antonacci's decision to run for judge, the race was a top Democratic target and Republicans highlighted the importance of retaining the seat as they aim to regain control of the Senate.
With Antonacci's resignation at the beginning of 2020, it's likely there will be a special election to fill the seat months before the November general election. The earliest Cuomo could call a special election is mid-March.
It's possible the special election will be held April 28 — the same date as the New York presidential primary.
"If the governor calls (a special election) in April," I'm ready to go," Lattimore said.