State senator endorsed over challenger Katz
Written by: Michael Risinit
State Sen. Greg Ball never garnered much love among establishment Republicans in the three counties he represents, coming away from the nominating conventions each spring without an endorsement.
That record changed Monday night, when Ball, seeking a second term in the Senate, gathered almost 70 percent of the vote from the Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess county Republican committees. He held off a challenge from freshman Assemblyman Steve Katz, R-Yorktown, and, for the first time in his political career, heads into the election season as the party-backed candidate.
“Focused on my results as a senator… I personally met and called hundreds of committee people and chairs and successfully developed a relationship based on maintaining this critical Senate seat for the slim Republican majority,” Ball, R-Patterson, said Tuesday afternoon.
Even as an incumbent assemblyman and then as a state office holder running against a relative newcomer for his first Senate term, Ball always had to force a primary to secure the GOP line in the November election. His record was perfect: convention losses in 2006, 2008 and 2010 followed by primary victories.
What was different this week at the Crowne Plaza in White Plains remains “hard to say,” Putnam County GOP Chairman Jim DiBella said.
“He garnered a great deal of support, enough to have a fairly convincing victory,” he said.
Anthony Scannapieco, the Carmel GOP chair, credited the political landscape that is no longer ruled by former state Sen. Vincent Leibell. Leibell, who is in prison after pleading to two corruption charges, often clashed with Ball. In 2008, Leibell transferred some of his campaign cash to the Southeast Republican Committee, which passed it on to Ball’s primary opponent.
Neither Katz nor a spokesman returned telephone calls about the results or whether Katz will mount a primary challenge against Ball. Both Scannapieco and William Monti, the chairman of the North Salem Republicans, said Katz was taking time to decide his next move.
Ball’s newly redrawn 40th District includes eastern Putnam and parts of northern Westchester and Dutchess counties. (ARTICLE)