North Tonawanda Mayor Robert Ortt mulls run for Maziarz seat

Jul 15, 2014

North Tonawanda Mayor Robert Ortt says he'll make a decision soon on whether he will run for the State Senate seat being vacated by George Maziarz.  But there are already a couple of other candidates in the running.

Maziarz surprised many when he announced late Sunday night that he will not seek re-election.  That has local Republicans scrambling to come up with a replacement.  Gia Arnold said it should be her.  The Holley resident from Orleans County had submitted petition signatures to challenge Maziarz in a Republican primary.

North Tonawanda Mayor Robert Ortt

Monday, Arnold criticized local Republican leaders for failing to consider her for party backing. During a news conference Monday, Arnold was critical of the North Tonawanda mayor.

"Now that Senator Maziarz has withdrawn for dubious reasons, he wants to continue this culture of corruption by anointing the mayor of North Tonawanda as his replacement.  I believe we have had enough of this type of representation in Albany.  Isn't it time we put the residents first?  Isn't it time we break-up the good ole boys club?," said Arnold.

The GOP, instead, is focusing on Mayor Ortt, who says he's flattered that his name was brought up. Ortt is promising to make a decision on whether to run sooner rather than later.

"My focus is making a decision that's right for me," Ortt said. 

If he chooses to run, Ortt would essentially replace Maziarz on the ballot and would face Arnold in the September primary. 

The Democratic candidate for the Senate seat is Niagara Falls attorney Johnny Destino.  He lost to Maziarz in a Republican primary two years ago.  Now, Destino has switched parties and will face the winner of the Republican primary in November's general election.