© 2024 WRVO Public Media
NPR News for Central New York
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Coverage of central and northern New York's congressional races, including the primary races and the general election.Races covered include the 24th Congressional District, currently held by Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus), who is running for reelection; the 22nd Congressional District, currently held by Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld), who is retiring; and the 21st Congressional District, currently held by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Willsboro).

54th senate race includes three candidates after contentious GOP primary

Floyd Rayburn for NY Senate; Pam Helming for Senate; Kenan Baldridge NYS Senate 54th District
Reform Party candidate Floyd Rayburn, left, Republican Pam Helming and Democrat Kenan Baldridge are running in New York's 54th State Senate District to replace retiring state Sen. Mike Nozzolio.

A contentious Republican primary is spilling over into the general election race in New York's 54th State Senate District.

Businessman Floyd Rayburn narrowly lost the Republican line to the town of Canandaigua's Supervisor PamHelming, who beat him out by 210 votes. But it's the four votes Rayburn received on the Reform Party's line that will keep him on the ballot. That and the raw feelings from the acrimonious republican primary.

"I would be lying to you if i said i wasn’t part of it," Rayburn said. "It was a filthy campaign."

Personal feelings aside, he says his experience of owning and operating a business gives him an edge over his opponents.

"You have to meet a paycheck everyday," Rayburn said. "Pam Helming has never met a paycheck in her life."

His business background also inspires his agenda. Rayburn wants to put a moratorium on any new regulations affecting businesses and end unfunded mandates that local governments have to implement.

But  Helming says her background in both the public and private sector makes her more qualified.

"My record speaks for itself and I show again the critical importance of having someone who has a balanced background in both the business sector and the government side of things," Helming said. "You can’t think you’re going to go to Albany and raise hell and make changes. You've got to know what the priorities of the people of this district are and you also have to understand how the system works and be able to make it work to your advantage."

Similar to Rayburn, Helming's platform calls for term limits and ethics reform, like requiring legislators convicted of felonies to forfeit their pensions. She also wants to roll back regulations and red tape that encumber small businesses.

The Democrat in the race, town of Rose Supervisor Kenan Baldridge, is also open to term limits and pension forfeiture. But he also wants to close the so-called LLC campaign contribution loophole. Unlike his opponents, Baldridge does not want to repeal the safe act and is placing an emphasis on his public sector experience.

"If you know how to work within the system and, I hate to say it, but navigate the bureaucracy then you can get things done and I have experience at doing that," Baldridge said. "You won’t find that in business."

Baldridge is also advocating for more local control when it comes to education policy. 

Nozzolio has not yet weighed in on the race. 

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.