Del Vecchio plans to wage GOP primary for NY-18

The competition among Republicans to run for New York’s 18th Congressional District seat appears headed for a primary in June, with filmmaker Ken Del Vecchio of Warwick saying Wednesday that he has decided to challenge the party’s endorsed candidate, Phil Oliva, for the nomination.

Del Vecchio, who initially was undecided about continuing his run after GOP committee members endorsed Oliva on Feb. 29, told the Times Herald-Record he’s “definitely” running, touting the results of a push poll by his campaign that showed voters favoring him over Oliva when given descriptions of their backgrounds. He said he had at least 30 people ready to begin circulating petitions this weekend to collect the 1,250 signatures he needs to get on the June 28 primary ballot.

“Voters already are responding to my position as a political outsider and as someone who totally rejects the political correctness and phoniness that pervades our political system today,” Del Vecchio said in a press release about his poll that day.

Oliva, an aide to Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, won almost 73 percent of the weighted votes at a party convention in Middletown, easily beating three other competitors who made it to a second round of balloting. Two of the six Republicans who registered to run for the seat have since withdrawn; the status of two other candidates is unclear.

Del Vecchio is a former attorney who now makes movies and runs the annual film festival at Middletown’s Paramount Theatre, the confusingly named Hoboken International Film Festival.

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