On Sept. 19, Chairman of the Livingston County Conservative Party Executive Committee Jason McGuire selected Undersheriff Jim Szczesniak as the Conservative party candidate for the Nov. 5 general county sheriff elections. The official results from the Sept. 10 primary election showed that sheriff’s office investigator Tom Dougherty, the Republican candidate, beat Szczesniak by 160 votes. Due to several complications surrounding the tallying of the Conservative votes, however, it was not immediately clear who would represent the Conservative party come Nov. 5.
While the original tally estimated that Szczesniak won the Conservative party’s primary by a single vote, an additional valid affidavit ballot was counted, tying the candidates at 159 votes.
Further complicating matters, Szczesniak explained that the Livingston County Board of Elections then realized that at least 59 votes had been misdirected from one party’s tally to the other.
Szczesniak said that there is no way of pulling those votes out, so rather than go to litigation to decide who the Conservative candidate would be in the general election, that there are certain bylaws which allow for the party to choose its candidate.
According to a press release from the Livingston County Conservative Party Executive Committee, McGuire ultimately decided to examine the two districts where ballots were misdirected – Caledonia and Geneseo – and decided that, based on the findings, that had the districts been discounted from the primaries altogether, Szczesniak would have won.
McGuire chose him to be the Conservative candidate in the general elections based on this information.
The press release also cited the fact that the second primary would put the Conservative candidate behind in campaigning for the general election. It said it would cost too much for taxpayers and that the committee believed that the results would not likely change for the second primary in comparison to the first as reasons for selecting a candidate rather than holding another primary.
“[The general election] will not be an easy race,” McGuire said in the press release. “It looks like the undersheriff is now the underdog, but we’re confident that, come November, [Szczesniak will] emerge as the top dog.”
According to Szczesniak, there will not be many significant changes if he is elected as sheriff in November.
“We need to make sure we’re changing as society changes and make sure we engage in new technologies,” he said.