Sped-up petition period approaches for local, county candidates

Candidates for local office in all 24 towns and cities in Orange County will begin collecting petition signatures later this month to get on the ballot as New York jumps into a new political calendar that has started campaign season more than three months earlier than it used to begin.

Among the Orange County town supervisors whose seats are up for election are the Republicans who lead the county’s four largest towns: Michael Sweeton of Warwick; Ed Diana of Wallkill; George Green of New Windsor; and Gil Piaquadio of Newburgh. City of Newburgh Mayor Torrance Harvey, who was appointed to succeed the late Judy Kennedy last year and then won an election to serve the last year of her term, must run again this year to claim a full, four-year term.

Political candidates used to have until June to start gathering signatures to run that November (and in September primaries if there was intra-party competition). But the merging of New York’s state and federal primaries in June – one of several election reforms Democrats enacted last month after winning Senate control – has backed up the familiar schedule. Petitions must be filed this year by April 4, instead of mid-July.

There are no congressional races or elections for statewide offices or state Legislature this year. But Ulster County will have elections for county executive and all 23 county Legislature seats, and Sullivan County will have elections for all nine of its Legislature seats. Orange County doesn’t have elections for county offices this year.

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