New York prepares for state level elections

With less than two weeks remaining, New York state is preparing for multiple state-level office elections; every state Assembly seat is open.

Three candidates are in the race to gain the seat of the retiring Dale Volker, a Republican who has represented New York's 59th Senate District since 1975. The 59th District covers parts of Livingston, Erie and Ontario Counties, and all of Wyoming County.

The race is between Cynthia Appleton on the Democratic line, Patrick Gallivan on the Republican line and David J. DiPietro on the Tea Party line. Former candidate James Domagalski pulled out of the race to avoid a potential three-way split among the Republican vote.

Appleton, a Wyoming County nurse, is running on a platform of reforming the state legislature. Her website touts increased support for education including making college more accessible.

Gallivan, a former Erie County sheriff, is also running on a platform of reforming Albany and weeding out corruption. His campaign website does not specify any support of colleges, but he has been quoted as supporting the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act.

DiPietro, the former mayor of East Aurora in Erie County, is the only candidate in New York state running on a Tea Party line. His blog states that he "strongly support[s] a longer school day, charter schools, school choice, consolidation of school districts, upgrading administration, Regents reform and removing problem tenured teachers."

Geneseo is also part of the 147th Assembly District, which is currently represented in the state assembly by Daniel Burling, a Republican running unopposed. Burling has represented the district since 1999.

These midterm elections prove to be a small part of a statewide backlash born out of frustration with Albany. According to a poll by Marist College, 86 percent of registered voters in upstate New York feel as though the state is headed in the wrong direction.

On the state-wide level, a new poll released by the New York Times showed Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino trailing Democratic candidate and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo by 25 percentage points.

All seven gubernatorial candidates attended New York's first and only debate on Tuesday in the race for the governor's seat. The lack of sparring between Cuomo and Paladino and the political theatrics of the other candidates were especially noteworthy.

Third-party candidates included Libertarian contender Warren Reidlich and Democratic Freedom Party candidate Charles Barron, each of whom criticized Cuomo and Paladino's promises to end corruption in Albany. Other theatric third-party candidates included the eccentric Jimmy McMillan, founder of the Rent is 2 Damn High Party and Howie Hawkins of the Green Party.

Other statewide races include the race for state comptroller, a hotly contested race between incumbent Democrat Thomas DiNapoli and Republican Harry Wilson, a financial investor who has been trailing DiNapoli in polls. Wilson and DiNapoli have been trading attack advertisements for weeks, each claiming the other to be fiscally irresponsible.

The race for state attorney general is also highly contested between Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan and Manhattan Assembleyman Eric Schneidermann. Polls indicate the two to be virtually tied.

Voters in upstate New York are typically a stronghold of Republican support, representing 39 percent of the state's population, but about 46 percent of voter turnout in gubernatorial election.