County Clerk Chris Jacobs, a popular moderate Republican with an unparalleled social network in Western New York, has released a video promoting his candidacy for the 60th district State Senate seat. That seat has long been at the crux of power in New York State, often holding the Senate chamber in the balance.
For the Republican Party, control of the Senate is their last remaining foothold of power in State politics. Without it, the party would be wholly irrelevant. Establishment figures like State Chairman Ed Cox and Independence Party Chairman Frank MacKay — transactional players in New York City political circles — are banking heavily on Jacobs’ candidacy.
Jacobs is facing Kenmore attorney Kevin Stocker, a popular and slightly more conservative figure in the party who won a sweeping primary victory two years ago against former Senator Mark Grisanti. That contest is expected to cost between $1 million and $2 million dollars, which establishment downstate money expected to pour into the district in support of Jacobs.
Stocker, who has been going door to door across the district for months, has a deep relationship with a large faction of committed primary voters. He often rails against party bosses, downstate influence over Western New York, and special interests that control Albany.
In a year when presidential candidate Donald Trump is expected to be on the ballot in a general election, many Republicans have the 2-1 Democrat enrolled district firmly in their crosshairs. Trump is expected to boost Republican turnout in Orchard Park, Hamburg, and Grand Island while earning “cross over Democrats” in Tonawanda.
Some observers speculate that a third candidate will enter the primary — perhaps Grand Island School Board member Mike Madigan, who is considerably more conservative in his views than either Stocker or Jacobs.