Katz challenge to Ball folds
In a striking turn, Assemblyman Steve Katz has decided to seek reelection and has withdrawn from challenging State Senator Greg Ball for his seat in the New York State Legislature.
Katz' decision Thursday was based on what he described as "numerous family health issues" that would have prevented him from campaigning for the senate seat. Katz' mother is ill.
"I regret that I cannot presently offer the voters of our district a clear voice in the State Senate that pursues integrity, honesty and Republican principles that they deserve."
Katz said he would pursue "these values and continue my efforts in the Assembly by focusing on issues important to all New Yorkers—fixing our economy, lowering taxes and creating jobs."
Katz currently represents constituents in Carmel, Southeast, Patterson, North Salem, Somers, Yorktown and Pawling. The recently redrawn district encompasses Carmel, Southeast, Patterson, Putnam Valley, Somers and Yorktown.
Katz and Ball, who campaigned together two years ago, have parted ways in recent months, with Katz coming to believe that Ball had abandoned, or at least softened, his conservative viewpoints. Ball not only maintains that he is as Republican as ever, but has mounted a vigorous campaign to stay in the seat.
Ball received the endorsement for reelection of a tri-county GOP caucus last month, when Republican leaders in Putnam, Westchester and Dutchess backed his candidacy over that of Katz.
Ball reacted to the announcement: "In trying times like these elected officials must work together and not be divided."
County Executive MaryEllen also Odell endorsed Katz' decision, telling the Courier and PCNR: "I am thrilled to hear that Steve Katz has decided to remain in the Assembly. Steve has a clear loud voice in representing Republican core values in the Democratic controlled Assembly. The residents of Putnam County need him there."
Democrat Justin Wagner, of Croton-on-Hudson, is running against Ball in November's general election.