Reform Party endorses Skoufis in Senate race

Assemblyman James Skoufis, D-Woodbury, announced Friday that the Reform Party has endorsed his bid to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Bill Larkin in the 39th Senate District.

“James Skoufis is the best choice to represent Rockland, Orange and Ulster in the State Senate,” Curtis Sliwa, the Reform Party chairman, said in a campaign press release. “He has proven in the Assembly to be a true reformer.”

The Reform Party is the outgrowth of a new ballot line then-Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino created in 2014 for his run for governor, and it initially served as a Republican appendage on election day. Only Republican Senate candidates had the Reform endorsement in 2016; Larkin won 496 votes on that ballot line.

As the Skoufis endorsement shows, the Reform Party is less tethered to Republican candidates since Sliwa, the founder of the Guardian Angels in the 1970s, helped commandeer the party in 2016.

“I’m proud that my record as an independent leader committed to putting people ahead of politics has earned me the support of the Reform Party,” Skoufis said in Friday’s announcement.

Two Republicans – Stony Point Councilman Tom Basile and Orange County Legislator Mike Anagnostakis – plan to compete in a Sept. 13 primary for the 39th Senate District seat. Basile has the Conservative Party endorsement.

Getting the endorsement of groups like the Reform and Conservative parties generally guarantees a candidate those parties’ ballot lines in November, although rival candidates can force a write-in primary challenge by filing what is known as an opportunity-to-ballot petition.

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