The Putnam Examiner

Denig Withdraws Name from County Exec Race; Ball Criticizes Odell

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The chances of a Democratic primary election in Putnam County for the county executive office became less likely last week when a possible candidate dropped out.

Democrat Lisa Denig confirmed in an email she won’t be running for county executive this year after she had previously stated a couple months earlier she was considering entering the race. Denig said in November she was going to make a decision sometime after the New Year and that decision not to run now leaves one known Democrat, District 2 Legislator Sam Oliverio, vying for the seat currently held by Republican MaryEllen Odell.

In a statement, Denig said, “I have decided not to pursue a run for Putnam County Executive in 2014.  Unfortunately, the timing is just not right for me this year but I look forward to other opportunities that may come my way in the future.”

Though Denig, who works for the Westchester County District Attorney, didn’t give a specific reason for pulling out, Oliverio said he heard it’s because her employer didn’t want her to get involved in Putnam politics, especially with the ongoing sage surrounding Putnam DA Adam Levy.

The Westchester DA is prosecuting the controversial rape case of Alex Hossu, in which Levy has been alleged to be too involved in helping Hossu’s defense.

In an interview in mid-November, Denig touted how she had a “grander vision for Putnam County.”

“And I don’t believe any people that are interested in the current position have a bigger vision for the county other than the same old issues constantly discussed,” Denig said back then.

Before working down in Westchester, she was involved in county government. She was the former chief of staff for former county executive and Republican Robert Bondi. She also worked for former state senator Vincent Leibell as his communication director.

If she reached the general election, Denig said she would have been able to get support from both Democrats and Republicans.

Oliverio, now the sole Democrat probably running, said he was happy to hear he may be able to avoid a Democratic primary election.

“I could not understand why another Democrat would want to challenge me,” Oliverio said. “I have name recognition, I’ve been a legislator for 18 years, I’ve been very progressive.”

“I don’t think anyone would challenge me at this point,” Oliverio added.

With it only being January, there aren’t other candidates right now besides Oliverio, acting county Democratic Committee Chairperson Lillian Jones said.

Jones said the decision to endorse a Democratic candidate would come in May when the committee holds its convention. She said Oliverio is a “very viable candidate.”

“We would certainly be honored to have him run under his banner,” she said.

Jones said she couldn’t recall the last time there was a primary election for Democrats running for county executive. She said not having a primary election would help county Democrats fully concentrate on just one candidate.

“Certainly having more time to be supportive of the candidate running is a plus,” Jones said. “And I would be very happy to not have a primary.”

Meanwhile, Republicans might be inching closer to a primary election. In a statement, state senator Greg Ball criticized Odell, stating “the County Executive would be well advised to focus on Putnam County, where recent division, scandals and a lack of accountability in County Government have left a large vacuum for real leadership.”

In addressing his political future and possible county executive run, Ball said he would “make any political announcements after the New York State budget is complete.”




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