State Supreme Court Rules Against Endorsement Petition

A decision handed down by the state Supreme Court allows for the Republican county executive and clerk candidates to also be listed on the conservative line.

According to court documents, Robert K. Bankoski petitioned to invalidate certificates authorizing Vincent W. Horrigan and Larry J. Barmore to be designated as candidates on the ballot in the next primary election of the Chautauqua County Conservative Party. The documents show Horrigan and Barmore had filed petitions earlier in the year asking for the Conservative Party’s nomination in the upcoming election for county executive and county clerk, respectively.

Because Horrigan and Barmore are registered Republicans, they had to be authorized by the Conservative Party Committee in order to be listed on the Conservative line, “unless the rules of the party provide for another committee, in which case the members of such other committee … may … authorize the designation or nomination of a person as a candidate.”

The state Supreme Court found the Conservative Party followed its longstanding local practice, and called upon the county committee’s executive committee, rather than the full county committee, which authorized Horrigan and Barmore’s designation as Conservative Party candidates.

Bankoski, who is a registered conservative, objected to the legality of the authorizations. The Supreme Court dismissed the petition, as it found the authorization of the candidates was completed in a legal manner.

“I was confident all along that the courts would uphold the rules of the party,” said Anna Wilcox, chairwoman of the Conservative Party of Chautauqua County. “I was really surprised that the action was brought at all since it was clear from the beginning the nominations were properly reached.”