The Northern Westchester Examiner

Katz Rethinks Term Limit Vow with State Assembly Seat

We are part of The Trust Project
Steve Katz
Steve Katz

Six months ago, New York State Assemblyman Steve Katz (R/Mohegan Lake) vowed during his inauguration inside the Putnam County Historic Courthouse that this current term would be his last.

But now with former state Senator Greg Ball’s chief of staff Suzi McDonough announcing her interest in the seat, Katz is reconsidering whether he will officially retire from public life at the end of 2016.

“I’m leaving my options open, I’ll see what happens,” Katz said in a recent interview.

McDonough, a Republican, announced in May she was launching an exploratory committee for the 94th assembly seat currently held by Katz, who is in the middle of his third term. McDonough, a Mahopac resident, is currently on the Town of Carmel Town Board. She most recently worked for state Sen. Terrence Murphy (R/Yorktown), but has since resigned, according to Murphy’s office.

Calling her nothing but a “stooge to Greg Ball” who is unfit for office, Katz said he is rethinking whether he would attempt to run for a fourth term in the Assembly, depending on what other candidates step forward. McDonough is the only resident in the district to publicly express interest in the seat so far.

“Quite frankly, there are going to be some excellent candidates coming out that I will do everything possible to ensure that Greg Ball does not control (that Assembly seat),” Katz said.

McDonough has hired Ball’s new marketing and communication firm, Black Stone, for the campaign gear-up.

McDonough, in a statement, refuted Katz’s claim and said she has shown “my strength, my independence and my ability to stand on my own two feet. I was running businesses and raising a family in this community, long before Steve Katz came to town.”

“I am going to run a positive campaign focused on the issues.  I intend to leave the politics to my opponent,” McDonough continued. “Folks throughout this district realize the need for competent, conservative leadership they can be proud of.  Cutting taxes, protecting innocent life, and repealing the un-SAFE Act are some of my goals. I am focused on putting my best foot forward to represent the people and the community I love.”

Katz and Ball, at an earlier time in both of their political careers, appeared to be allies but eventually had a falling out, leading the two Republicans to openly criticize each other. Ball even threatened to sue Katz after Katz stated Ball was under federal investigation for campaign finance misuse. Ball left public office at the end of 2014 and has since moved to Texas, though he occasionally visits New York.

“What do you want anything to do with Greg Ball of all things?” Katz said. “And she is completely of Greg Ball. Let’s finally clean up Putnam. Let’s have nothing to do with people who were involved with (ex-senator Vincent) Leibell and have nothing to do with Greg Ball. Let’s try that for a change.”

Ball, when reached for comment, panned Katz’s attacks on McDonough.

“Belittling a very popular local leader, who is also an amazing mother and awesome human being who has overcome enormous personal tragedy, is both politically stupid and personally vile,” Ball said in an email. “Suzi is one of the toughest and most independent people I know.”

Katz said he has spoken with other potential candidates and believes that if one of those Republicans within the district ended up running, they would warrant his support.

“If there are people that I see that can take this seat and make sure that it is kept clean and without any influence from disgrace politicians from Texas pulling strings in Putnam County, yes I’m going to make sure of that any way I can,” Katz remarked.

We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.