September 23, 2005

Legislature Race Down to Two

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What started out as a four-way race for the Tompkins County legislature has narrowed to a two-way vote between Democrat Nate Shinagawa ’05 and Nitin Chadda ’07, who will campaign as a write-in candidate.

Shinagawa won the Democratic primary for the county’s 4th District on Sept. 12, beating out Matt Bishop grad and Joan Spielholz ’73. Although Bishop had the option to pursue the seat on an independent ticket, he withdrew from the race following Shinagawa’s victory.

“I want to get as much as I can out of my Master’s program at the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs. I have realized that I cannot do that while running for county legislator,” Bishop wrote in a statement.

He and Spielholz are now supporting Shinagawa in November’s general election.

The county’s 4th District consists of most of Collegetown and West Campus.

“I’m glad that Matt ran, because he registered a lot of voters,” Shinagawa said. “He also developed a lot of issues that were talked about in the race. … Because both he and I were doing it, students were more likely to vote because the issues were on the forefront.”

Common Council member Michael Taylor ’05 praised Bishop’s decision to drop out of the election.

“His decision to support Nate shows he really respects the process, and I’m sure that Matt will be able to add to the quality of life in the fourth ward and throughout Tompkins County in the future,” he said.

Although Chadda originally petitioned to run as the Independence Party candidate, the petition was challenged and overturned on the basis that the witness Chadda listed was not registered as a member of that party. He is now planning to start a write-in campaign, though he acknowledged that his chances of winning the election are small.

“It’s more to bring the issues to debate,” Chadda said. “I know as a write-in [candidate], my abilities are very limited.”

Chadda said he will specifically focus on accountability.

In other local elections, November will also determine the Fourth Ward representative to Ithaca’s Common Council and the county’s district attorney. David Gelinas ’07 is running unopposed for the Common Council seat, while incumbent Republican George Dentes ’73, will face Democrat Gwen Wilkinson for the district attorney position.

The general elections are set for Nov. 8. The last day to register to vote in those elections is Oct. 13

Archived article by Yuval Shavit
Sun City Editor