Longtime Cayuga County Clerk Sue Dwyer is among six local Republican officials who are supporting John Lemondes to succeed retiring state Assemblyman Gary Finch.
Lemondes, R-LaFayette, has been endorsed by Cayuga County Republican Chairwoman Roberta Massarini and two of her predecessors, Cherl Heary and Sue Tanner. Cayuga County Legislator Andrew Dennison and Niles Supervisor Joan Jayne are also backing Lemondes for state Assembly.
"I want to thank them for their leadership and service in Cayuga County, and for placing their trust in me to represent their families and neighbors all across central and southern Cayuga County," Lemondes said in a statement.
There are two Republicans vying for the party's nomination in the 126th Assembly District, which includes parts of Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland and Onondaga counties. In addition to Lemondes, LaFayette Supervisor Danny Fitzpatrick is in the race.
Lemondes was a late entrant in the campaign. He was selected by the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties to replace Kenneth Bush III as the designated candidate on the ballot. Bush had been designated by the parties to run for state Assembly, but abruptly dropped out of the race in March.
The 126th Assembly District is an open seat for the first time since 1999. Finch, R-Springport, announced in February that he will not run for reelection this year.
Lemondes, a retired Army colonel, owns Elly's Acres Farm in LaFayette. He is a member of several organizations, including the New York Farm Bureau and the American Sheep Industry Association. He is president of the Farmer Veteran Coalition of New York State and serves on the board of directors of the Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District.
In 2014, Lemondes ran for Congress in the 24th district. He was the runner-up for the GOP designation behind John Katko.
If elected to the state Assembly, Lemondes wants to address high taxation and population migration — two issues affecting upstate New York. He hopes to make central New York a more affordable place to live.
"The infrastructure that Assemblyman Finch has set up and the footprint he has established in the counties he serves is working well," Lemondes said. "The offices that are in place will remain open and staffed as they are now. Over the past 20 years, the system has been perfected and I see no reason to change it. Constituents need to know that they have a direct line to their elected official."
The primary election is Tuesday, June 23. There will be nine days of early voting before Election Day, from June 13 through June 21. Absentee ballot applications have been sent to every GOP voter in the district's four counties. An executive order issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo allows voters to use the risk of contracting COVID-19 as an excuse for obtaining an absentee ballot.
Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.
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