Ball Announces Plans to Seek Leibell’s Senate Seat
by Michael Brendan Dougherty
In a surprise move, Greg Ball is shutting down his campaign to unseat John Hall and endeavoring to take Vincent Leibell’s seat in the New York State Senate, even if it means challenging Leibell in an acrimonious GOP primary.
“New York is ready for change,” said Greg Ball, “we’re seeing it in Westchester, and the Hudson Valley and we have a chance at taking back this senate.”
“I’ve been an effective voice for reform while in a super-minority in the Assembly,” Ball said, “I want to take the people’s concerns into the senate, and give them a more effective voice.”
“This business is full of surprises,” said Leibell upon hearing the news. Leibell has been rumored to be interested in succeeding Bob Bondi as Putnam County Executive. “I’ve been thinking about the County Executive seat for months,” said Leibell, “but my plans are not firm yet.” Leibell did not confirm that he would leave the Senate.
A primary race between Ball and Leibell would put Putnam’s two most dynamic GOP figures into direct conflict, after years of behind-the-scenes scraps. Ball, having raised funds for a Congressional campaign for over six months, enters the state senate race with a formidable $250,000 war chest.
“I’ve talked to my supporters and my donors, and they are all on board for rebuilding this Republican party in New York State,” Ball said. The populist candidate said he would focus on relieving the burden to taxpayers by seeking to reform the mechanism for funding public schools, and that he would seek to promote political reform by promoting term limits.
The sudden shift is already changing the political dynamic in the Hudson Valley. For now, the 2010 Congressional race is between incumbent John Hall and Mt. Kisco ophthalmologist Nan Hayworth.
“There have been a lot of surprises this season,” said incumbent Congressman John Hall, “and there is plenty of time between now and November for more.”
“As the sole Republican candidate against John Hall, I promise to focus all my energy on reclaiming this district for Republicans, and bringing back opportunities for enterprise, growth, and prosperity,” said Nan Hayworth, who recently entered the Republican field.
Ball’s decision explains an earlier internal poll he released last week, showing him doing well in two-thirds of Congressional District 19. Those two-thirds of the district comprise the state senate district represented currently by Vincent Leibell.