Madison County DA race heats up

An unexpected turn of events Thursday could prove advantageous for District Attorney Jeffrey Aumell (D -- Canastota) next month. The state Republican Party's nominating committee asked Peter Finocchiaro (R -- Canastota), Conservative candidate for District Attorney, to run for state Supreme Court justice in New York's 11th Judicial District.

A win would take Finocchiaro to Queens. The move takes him off the ballot.

Madison County Democratic Committee Chairwoman Marianne Simberg said recently that because petitions were passed by the party for Finocchiaro, he had to appear on the Conservative line. She said parties are prohibited from making candidate substitutions; however, Finocchiaro's acceptance of the state judicial seat nomination is the one loophole that paved the way. According to Democratic Elections Commissioner Laura Costello, an individual may run for only one elected position at a time.

Costello said Finocchiaro need not live there to run.

Finocchiaro signed a Certification of Declination of the Madison County Conservative Party's endorsement in order to accept the nomination for higher office. An inspection of the certification by Eagle Newspapers staff Oct. 2 revealed that William Gabor notarized Finocchiaro's signature on Sept. 22.

Gabor, the Republican- and Independence Party-endorsed candidate for District Attorney, defeated Finocchiaro in the September Republican primary.

"Two attorneys -- both Republicans -- got together and did what was best for the Republican Party and the voters of Madison County," said County Clerk Kenneth Kunkel on behalf of the Madison County Republican Committee.

Republican Chairman Michael St. Leger was unable to be reached for comment.

"This makes it a level playing field with two choices, each with two party endorsements," Kunkel said.

Madison County Conservative Party Chairman John Mulhall said he learned of Finocchiaro's declination after its filing late in the day on Sept. 26, a Friday, and immediately worked to convene a meeting of the party's executive committee.

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