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2 primaries in Sheriff's race

Livingston County, N.Y. --- Tuesdays primary results in Livingston County could end the race for Sheriff, or the results could set the stage for a November rematch.

After 24 years in office, Livingston County Sheriff John York announced his retirement in February.

That was also the day that Yorks Undersheriff, James Szczesniak, announced his candidacy.

Tom Dougherty, an investigator in the Livingston County Sheriffs Office, announced his candidacy in December 2012.

On Tuesday, both Szczesniak and Dougherty will square off in a much anticipated Republican Party Primary Election. Both men are looking to win the majority of votes from the more than 17,000 registered Republicans in Livingston County.

Yet both men are also competing on the Conservative Party line. There are nearly 900 registered Conservative voters in Livingston County.

"We found that both of the candidates for Sheriff would represent our party well, said Livingston County Conservative Party Chairman Jason McGuire. We thought it made the most sense to go forward and let the party really get involved and vet the candidate's further before that primary."

When the results roll in Tuesday night it is possible one candidate wins both primaries and essentially puts an end to the campaign entirely. It is also possible that the candidates split the two primaries ensuring that both will remain on the ballot in November for a rematch.

"I can't speak for him but I'm going 'till November, Dougherty told 13WHAM News on Monday.

We're in it to win it and our supporters have been fantastic and if I backed on out on them it just wouldn't happen, we're going to the finish.

"Our Republican and Conservative voters are our priority at this point on September 10, but I assure you as we're walking neighborhoods it's not about party politics it's about serving the people of Livingston County, said Szczesniak.

In 2012 the Conservative Party candidate for Livingston County District Attorney tied the Republican candidate in the Republican Party Primary race. In the General Election that Conservative Party finished third but appeared to draw significant support away from the Republican Party candidate. The Democrat candidate won.

"Both of the candidates that I spoke with seem pretty confident that they're going to push forward through to November, said Chairman McGuire. And I think particularly the fact that there's no Democratic candidate this year they feel very confident moving forward that this really could be anybody's race it's up in the air.


Sean Carroll, 13WHAM-TV
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