Yates County District Attorney Valerie Gardner will be the only candidate appearing on the ballot this November as a Republican in her re-election bid.
That’s because there will be no Republican primary for the DA position after the State Court of Appeals failed to hear appeals cases from Gardner and her challenger, Todd Casella. The current ADA in Steuben County will appear on the general election ballot in November as the Independence and Reform Parties candidate.
The general election takes place November 7th.
Below you will find statements released by DA Gardner and Casella.
Yates County District Attorney Valerie Gardner will be the Republican Party’s candidate in this November’s election for DA. Gardner said, “I am truly honored to be the Republican party’s representative in November. It is especially gratifying since I am the only Yates County resident running for the position. My dedication and record speak for themselves. Working closely with law enforcement, we have been able to achieve a 99% felony conviction rate and reduce the crime rate in Yates County by 30% in less than four years! While doing all of that, we still have been able to reduce the net county cost to our tax payers by over $300,000, and look forward to continuing the practice of fiscal responsibility and effective service to my community.”
Requests for appeal to be heard in the Yates County District Attorney race was not taken up by the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court which hears only cases they accept for review. Of eleven cases presented this morning, only one was accepted for argument this afternoon. The Appeal by Todd Casella, Steuben County resident running for Yates County DA, requested the Court of Appeals to overrule the findings of the 4th Department Appellate Division decision of August 23rd which ordered his name removed from the Republican primary ballot due to his placement of a fraudulent address on his petitions. In a related Steuben County case brought by Casella seeking to validate his Independence and Reform Party petitions, which had previously been thrown out by the Yates County Board of Elections for notary irregularities, the trial court’s excusal of notary errors by Casella will stand, despite the same fraudulent address appearing on those petitions, since neither the Appellate Division nor the Court of Appeals addressed that particular claim.
On August 23rd, four New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division justices unanimously invalidated Casella’s Republican petitions for violating the Election Law on the grounds that he placed a false residence on his petitions, and ordered removal of his name from the Republican primary line. In its unanimous decision, the Appellate Division stated,
“It is hereby ORDERED that the order so appealed from is unanimously reversed on the law without costs, the petition is granted, the designating petition is invalidated, and respondent Yates County Board of Elections is directed to remove respondent Todd J. Casella’s name from the ballot as a candidate in the Republican Party primary election for the office of District Attorney of Yates County, to be held on September 12, 2017……. we conclude that Supreme Court erred in denying the petition, validating the designating petition, and ordering that the Board place Casella’s name on the ballot as a candidate for the District Attorney of Yates County in the Republican Party primary election (see Matter of Eisenberg v Strasser, 100 NY2d 590, 591; Matter of Fernandez v Monegro, 10 AD3d 429, 430). We agree with Marchionda that she established that Casella did not reside at the address that he listed as his residence on his designating petition (see Election Law § 6-132 ; Eisenberg, 100 NY2d at 591). “As used in the Election Law, the term ‘residence’ is synonymous with ‘domicile’ . . . The crucial determination whether a particular residence complies with the requirements of the Election Law is that the individual must manifest an intent [to reside there], coupled with physical presence ‘without any aura of sham’” (Fernandez, 10 AD3d at 430; see Matter of Glickman v Laffin, 27 NY3d 810, 815). Here, the evidence adduced at the hearing established that Casella had moved from the address listed on his designating petition months prior to the petition’s circulation.”
Incumbent Yates County District Attorney Valerie Gardner filed her designating petitions for re-election containing over 900 valid signatures from registered Yates County voters. The Casella campaign had filed general objections to Gardner’s petitions, but the Casella campaign was unable to substantiate any deficiencies in Gardner’s petitions.
“I look forward to continuing speaking with all of our voters about my record. I strongly encourage all who are able to attend community meet and greets to do so and challenge my opponent to appear at least three public forums to discuss experience and qualifications for this very important position.” Said Valerie Gardner who will also appear on the Conservative and Women’s Equality party lines on the ballot in the general election on November 7th.
STATEMENT FROM TODD CASELLA FOLLOWING DECISION IN FROM NYS COURT OF APPEALS
“I’ve talked with many Yates County voters and they are sick and tired of this legal wrangling by Valerie Gardner trying to remove me from the ballot. I am too. Gardner’s assault on democracy is just awful and serves nothing but her own selfish interests.
“Valerie Gardner has tried everything possible to remove me from the ballot – but she failed. Today the State’s highest court affirmed my position on the ballot for the General Election on the Independence and Reform Party lines. That follows the NYS Supreme Court and the Appellate Division both ruling the same way over the last few weeks.
“I will continue to fight hard through November 7th to deliver my message of restoring honesty and integrity to the Yates County District Attorney’s Office. I trust that the voters will see through Gardner’s smoke-and-mirrors record and vote for a change in leadership.”