Former State Senator Greg Ball, a popular two-termer from the lower Hudson Valley, has taken a major annual political fundraiser private. The move follows a decision last year to forgo a reelection effort after US Attorney Preet Baharara started asking questions, not dissimilar to the retirement decision made by Niagara County’s former Senator George Maziarz.
Many Republicans in establishment circles saw Ball as a contender for statewide office — perhaps a challenger to US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Age 38, a graduate of the Air Force Academy, military experience, Georgetown degree in international affairs, and classic good looks are the makings of a political contender. It was a surprise when he decided not to seek reelection at a time when the GOP had a narrow majority.
Could a few questions from Baharara about campaign spending on his wardrobe have been the cause of his abrupt departure from the chamber? Observers say that — despite the impressiveness of his wardrobe — is unlikely the case.
Ball was born in the Hudson Valley town of Pawling, the son of a postal worker. He is a fifth generation New Yorker, attended public schools, and was the first in his family to graduate from college.
Ball first entered politics in 2005, when he ousted a longtime incumbent from a powerful political family. Assemblyman Will Stephens’ family had held the seat nearly continuously for eighty years, since 1926. On September 12, 2006, in the Republican Primary for New York’s 99th District, Ball defeated Stephens in a landslide with 70.4% (5,165 votes) to 29.6% (2,176 votes). From 2007 through 2010, Greg represented the 99th Assembly District while serving a commission as an Officer in the Air Force Individual Ready Reserve.
In 2010, without party endorsement or support, Ball announced his candidacy for the 40th State Senate District. He easily defeated his opponent in a Republican Primary while winning an historic Opportunity To Ballot campaign for the Conservative nomination.
Ball consistently received top ratings by New York State Environmental Advocates. In 2012 he was rated among the top of his class, receiving a 73% rating. After touring Pennsylvania’s gaslands, Senator Ball pioneered legislation imposing a moratorium on hydrofracking in New York State.
During his 2012 reelection campaign, Ball received the support of the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties in a contest he won easily.
When an anti-Second Amendment push swept the New York State Legislature in 2013, Ball lead opposition to Governor Andrew Cuomo anti-Second Amendment legislation, ironically known as the NYSAFE Act.
Ball organized an annual Animal Advocacy Day for animal supporters to network, share information, and lobby to protect animal and strengthen animal cruelty laws. Ball organized a puppy mill rally and successfully passed ‘Charlemagne’s Law’.
He has twice been awarded New York’s State’s “Most Conservative Senator” by the New York State Conservative Party and twice rated New York State’s “Most Independent Senator” by the New York State Public Interest Group (NYPIRG).