In a head to head matchup between freshman State Senator Marc Panepinto and his likely opponent Kevin Stocker, Panepinto would be defeated by the popular Republican in a landslide: 56% to 34%. Panepinto has long been considered the weakest incumbent State Senator in all of New York. That has been confirmed with a recent poll conducted by several local Republicans.
The poll also pits Stocker against County Clerk Chris Jacobs in a 60th district primary. Those numbers were not immediately available, but Jacobs has taken heat in recent weeks after calling for an earlier bar closing time.
Several Democrats have called on Panepinto to step aside. Former Senator Al Coppola, a widely respected elder statesman of local politics, is expected to challenge the freshman. He nearly defeated Panepinto two years ago, coming only 315 votes short.
Panepinto has struggled in his first term. After lobbying for changes to insurance laws that would have personally benefited his practice, ethics concerns have undermined the freshman’s standing with members of his own party. He won his Senate seat with 31.5% of the general election votes, in a district that has a majority Democrat enrollment.
Panepinto has been unable to shake criticisms relating to an election fraud conviction in 2001.
Stocker is known as a strong defender of the second amendment; as an advocate of lower taxes and a better business climate; and as an outspoken critic of party bossism and establishment corruption.