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Accolades for Bocciolatt from former FBI agent; poll shows dip in Cuomo popularity

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In political news closer to Jefferson County, the race for sheriff percolates along.

Republican candidate John Bocciolatt has been endorsed by a former FBI agent who worked with Mr. Bocciolatt when he was an officer in the Portland, Oregon, Police Bureau.

Robert Stewart, now retired, in his letter of endorsement said he knows Mr. Bocciolatt from his days as a member of the FBI Interagency Drug Task Force.

“Throughout his career John has displayed exceptional investigative, supervisory and leadership skills,” Mr. Stewart wrote. “John was viewed as one of the PPB’s ‘go to’ people and was frequently called upon to supervise high profile, complex or sensitive investigations.”

Mr. Stewart wrote that Mr. Bocciolatt “demonstrated the highest standard of ethics and professionalism” that earned the respect of fellow officers and members of cooperating law enforcement agencies.

Mr. Bocciolatt will face off against Undersheriff Paul Trudeau or former state police BCI investigator Colleen M. O’Neill, who are both seeking the Democratic Party nomination.

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Republican and Conservative candidate for the 21st Congressional District Joseph M. Gilbert will hold an open forum, town-hall style event at the Bible Fellowship Church in Lyons Falls.

The 7 p.m. Thursday event is sponsored by the Old North Church Patriots.

Mr. Gilbert is president of the Northern New York Tea Party. When the 12 county Republican chairpersons announced Feb. 7 their endorsement of Elise M. Stefanik to carry the party’s banner in the general election, Mr. Gilbert said he would pursue the party nomination through the primary. Petitions for the primary will be available the first week in March in advance of a June 24 vote.

More information is available at www.facebook.com/events/616661238387414/.

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Siena Research Institute has come out with a poll that says Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s popularity and job rating continues to slip among voters. It isn’t yet time for the governor’s supporters to panic, however, since he still owns a 40-point lead over his possible challengers in November.

The poll says 54 percent of respondents are “prepared to re-elect Cuomo, compared to 37 percent who would prefer someone else.”

Both of the most prominently mentioned GOP hopefuls carry negative favorability ratings, according to the poll. Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino has a negative 11 to 15 percent favorability rating, and Donald Trump’s negative rating is 31 to 62 percent. Both have lost ground since last month’s poll.

“Cuomo’s favorability, job performance and generic re-elect ratings all fell this month compared to last month,” pollster Steven Greenberg said in a news release, “with the biggest drops occurring with independent, downstate suburban and upstate voters. Virtually all of the gains that the Governor saw in his ratings between November and January have been lost.”

Siena also polled respondents about the state’s economy, with the majority saying upstate is struggling more than downstate. Only New York City metropolitan area residents didn’t agree with that assessment.

The poll reports that upstate residents say their region is hurting the most by a 79 to 13 percent margin. Suburbanites downstate say the same, but only by a 49 to 39 percent tally. City residents say, by 45 to 38 percent, that the downstate is suffering the most.

Asked about legalizing medical marijuana, the poll reports that 77 percent of respondents favor some measure allowing medical marijuana use in the state. However, there still is a majority opposed to the legalized use of recreational marijuana, with 53 percent in favor and 41 percent opposed.

The poll also says a small plurality of respondents, 43 percent, oppose hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, while 38 percent support it. The issue divides nearly along party lines as “It is supported by a two-to-one margin among Republicans and opposed by the same margin among Democrats, while independents are virtually evenly divided,” Mr. Greenberg said in the release.

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The Stefanik for Congress movement continues to churn out county committee affirmations of support for her candidacy. The blizzard of statements started almost immediately after Matthew A. Doheny announced he was in the race to capture the 221st Congressional District seat, and the Stefanik machine has efficiently spread them over several days to keep a steady stream in front of the press.

In the most recent release, Fulton County Republican Committee Chair Sue McNeil lent her voice to the choir of support.

“Fulton County held an open process and invited anyone to speak with us,” Ms. McNeil said in a release issued through Elise Press, Ms. Stefanik’s publicity organization. “Elise has gone above and beyond to show she cares about the district. She understands the issues that matter most to North Country voters. Elise is running a strong campaign based on convictions and principles.”

As with all the other county chairmen and chairwomen who have chimed in with continued support, Ms. McNeil praised Ms. Stefanik for having entered the race early and stayed the course.

“Elise is a powerful conservative, and is in the race for the right reasons,” the release concluded.

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