Gardner will be Republican candidate for Yates DA; Casella will still be on the November ballot

Gwen Chamberlain

There will be no Republican Primary for the position of Yates County District Attorney Sept. 12, but that doesn't mean Valerie Gardner and her challenger, Todd Casella, will stop campaigning hard. Both names will appear on the general election ballot in November.

Today (Aug. 30), the New York State Court of Appeals did not hear either of the cases from Yates County, essentially upholding last week's decisions from the Appellate Division that ruled Casella's Republican petitions invalid but affirmed his position on the Reform and Independence lines of the November General Election ballot.

Gardner, who will be the Republican Party’s candidate in this November’s election for District Attorney, said via email, “I am truly honored to be the Republican party’s representative in November. It is especially gratifying since I am the only Yates County resident running for the position. My dedication and record speak for themselves. Working closely with law enforcement, we have been able to achieve a 99 percent felony conviction rate and reduce the crime rate in Yates County by 30 percent in less than four years. While doing all of that, we still have been able to reduce the net county cost to our taxpayers by over $300,000, and look forward to continuing the practice of fiscal responsibility and effective service to my community.”

Casella commented, also via email, "I've talked with many Yates County voters and they are sick and tired of this legal wrangling by Valerie Gardner trying to remove me from the ballot. I am too. Gardner's assault on democracy is just awful and serves nothing but her own selfish interests.

"Valerie Gardner has tried everything possible to remove me from the ballot - but she failed. Today the State's highest court affirmed my position on the ballot for the General Election on the Independence and Reform Party lines. That follows the NYS Supreme Court and the Appellate Division both ruling the same way over the last few weeks.

"I will continue to fight hard through November 7th to deliver my message of restoring honesty and integrity to the Yates County District Attorney's Office. I trust that the voters will see through Gardner's smoke-and-mirrors record and vote for a change in leadership."

According to Gardner, the state’s highest court which hears only cases they accept for review. Of 11 cases presented this morning, only one was accepted for argument this afternoon. Casella requested the Court of Appeals to overrule the findings of the 4th Department Appellate Division decision which ordered his name removed from the Republican primary ballot due to his placement of what Gardner calls a fraudulent address on his petitions. In a related case, Casella's Independence and Reform Party petitions, which had previously been thrown out by the Yates County Board of Elections for notary irregularities, will stand as ruled by Supreme Court Justice John Ark on Aug. 16. Gardner notes the same address appeared on those petitions.