Potential candidates emerge for 116th Assembly District

Published: Feb. 17, 2022 at 5:50 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - North country politics are getting more interesting. Assemblyman Mark Walczyk plans to run against Matt Doheny for retiring Senator Pattie Ritchie’s seat.

That leaves the 116th Assembly District up for grabs.

Now, interest is growing for Walczyk’s current seat, and the potential candidates are well known.

A potential candidate has emerged for New York’s 116th Assembly District.

Jefferson County Legislator and former board chairman Scott Gray is thinking of throwing his hat in the ring.

“Strongly leaning toward running, although I’m doing my due diligence and assessment of the whole process,” he said. “If I’m going to enter the race, I’m hoping to go all the way with it and win. I think I appeal to a broad base of the constituency out there.”

The assembly seat is opening up because current Assemblyman Mark Walczyk will be running for New York’s newly drawn 50th Senate District.

He’ll take on Matt Doheny for Senator Pattie Ritchie’s job; she announced she’ll retire at the end of the year.

Already it has big names in the Republican party split with Ritchie endorsing Doheny and north country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik backing Walczyk

But, the head of the county’s Republican party says they won’t be picking a side.

“We have two very capable candidates running for the office of Senator. The ultimate arbiters of who should be the candidate are the rank and file Republicans that vote in the primary. And we’re going to rely on that,” said Donald Coon, chairman, Jefferson County Republican Party.

Gray isn’t the only county lawmaker thinking of running for the 116th Assembly District.

District 11 Legislator Bobby Ferris tells 7 News he’s interested in launching a campaign, but is still exploring his options.

Current town of Waddington Supervisor Alex Hammond, who lost to Walczyk in the race for the “River District” in 2020 said in a statement that the north country needs an assembly member who puts the constituents first. Hammond had no comment when asked directly if he was announcing a run for the seat.

Any other candidate planning to run for the state legislature has to file by April 7.

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