Party members support NT mayor's Senate bid in unanimous vote
Niagara County Republicans unanimously backed Rob Ortt, the decorated veteran and two-term North Tonawanda mayor vying to replace retiring Sen. George D. Maziarz as the party's standard-bearer in November.
Ortt won the party's backing by acclimation Thursday night as nearly 100 party regulars converged in Wheatfield to affirm the decision by Niagara County GOP Chairman Scott Kiedrowski and the members of Maziarz's vacancy committee to back Ortt's candidacy.
Party leaders also endorsed the candidacy of Republicans Regina Scibilia Cecconi for Lewiston town clerk and Donald Schildhauer for Town of Niagara supervisor.
"Rob Ortt is the right candidate for our party's future, and the right candidate for the 62nd Senate District," Kiedrowski said after the unanimous vote. "Western New Yorkers know that a combat veteran and proven chief executive brings leadership experience and perspective that no other candidate vying for this job can offer."
Kiedrowski noted he knows better than most what Ortt will bring to Albany.
"I've worked with Rob Ortt since a few days after he was sworn in as mayor in North Tonawanda," said Kiedrowski, who serves as North Tonawanda's clerk-treasurer. "He is a principled leader who always has kept his word, and who has always been consistent and unwavering in his values."
Ortt, reached on the campaign trail, said he was grateful for his home county's backing.
"My friends and neighbors in Niagara County know me best, and I'm honored they judged me worthy to represent them," he said. "I will work as hard for them as senator as I have worked for the people of North Tonawanda as their mayor."
Niagara County Republicans also unanimously backed the candidacies of Cecconi in Lewiston and Schildhauer in Niagara.
"Regina Cecconi and Don Schildhauer are both committed to the Republican Party's core values of lean, limited - but effective - government," Kiedrowski said. "Regina has been very outspoken about the kinds of innovations and reforms she will bring in Lewiston, like Saturday town clerk hours and online credit card payments; and Don is a private sector businessman who will bring that know-how to town hall."
Cecconi, who lives in the Village of Lewiston, has also been a vocal opponent of the New York SAFE Act gun control law, echoing the full-throated opposition voiced by Ortt, who has said he will work to repeal the law in Albany.
"I am excited to receive the Niagara County GOP's endorsement for Lewiston town clerk," Cecconi said after shaking hands with Kiedrowski and thanking party members for their backing. "As a complete newcomer to politics with no ties to any town employee or elected officials, I am the only candidate who can offer a fresh start for Lewiston."
The Republican-endorsed candidates will be on the ballot in the Sept. 9 primary.