WATERLOO — Attorney Christopher Folk of Waterloo said he plans to circulate Republican Party nominating petitions for Seneca County district attorney.
And he may be joined by Joe Sapio, who ran for the position in 2017.
If Folk files valid petitions and becomes a candidate, he will force a Republican primary election June 25 with Assistant Public Defender John Nabinger of Syracuse. Nabinger was endorsed by the county Republican Committee on Jan. 23. The committee members will circulate the required petitions on Nabinger’s behalf.
The petitions can be signed starting Feb. 26 and must be submitted to the Board of Elections between April 1 and 4.
Folk is the former Waterloo town justice and is currently an assistant county attorney.
“I sought the support and endorsement of the Seneca County GOP Committee. However, the outcome was not as I had hoped. Irrespective of the outcome of the committee meeting, I realize the importance of this race and the vital role that the district attorney holds,’’ Folk said.
“I believe the position of district attorney is a non-partisan role. That office holder is responsible for representing the people of the state of New York, not merely the connected, the wealthy, the political operatives or the members of any one political party,’’ he added.
Folk said he served as Waterloo town justice for seven years and has worked as a judge, a prosecutor and defense attorney.
“As a prosecutor, the primary function is to seek the truth and that is exactly what I will endeavor to do. I plan to battle the drug and mental health epidemic that our county and our nation is facing and I will work diligently to ensure the safety and security of every resident of Seneca County,’’ he said.
He plans to circulate Republican petitions and will also seek support from people in other political parties and independent voters.
“My goal is to rise above the political fray and send a message that applies to the entire population, not merely to the core constituency,’’ he said.
Donna Cathy, who was DA from 1994 to 2001, considered a run but said Friday she has decided against it this year.
“The new changes to the political calendar, which moved up the time frame to pass petitions, in conjunction with having recently closed out eight months of running a grassroots campaign for county judge, were significant considerations in my decision,’’ Cathy said. “This year, I will be focused on my family, my private law practice and gardening.”
“I want to thank the many committed supporters who were ready to come out of the gate running,’’ she added.
Sapio, who ran for DA in 2017, said he has been contacted by law enforcement officers, fellow attorneys and the general public asking him to run for district attorney. He said he doesn’t have a lot of money to fund a campaign, but still has many signs and literature from his run two years ago to help defray the cost.
“Petitions will begin circulating at the end of the month. Between now and then, I must discuss the matter with my family first to determine if I wade back into the political waters,’’ Sapio said. “It was and will be difficult to make a commitment with employment, family, children, schooling and coaching always playing a role with my time,’’ he added.
Sapio said he “truly believes’’ that he’s the best candidate for the job in terms of experience and interactions with law enforcement, victims, defendants, counsel and the public.
“Long and short, I have not officially decided but am leaning strongly in favor of a run,’’ he said.
County Democrats met Thursday and endorsed Acting District Attorney Mark Sinkiewicz of Ovid, a Democrat. He served as first assistant DA for several years and was named acting DA when former DA Barry Porsch was elected county judge last November and moved to the bench Jan. 1.