Niagara Gazette — State Sen. George Maziarz could be facing a familiar foe in his re-election bid this fall.
Maziarz, R-Newfane, will likely be challenged by Niagara Falls attorney and school board member Johnny Destino, who challenged the 10-term incumbent in a Republican primary in the 2012 election season.
Destino has been getting help from the Niagara County Democratic Committee in circulating petitions and has started early in an effort to “get a jump on it,” he said.
“We’re considering a campaign and we wanted to get ahead on petitions,” he explained.
Maziarz said he has faced challengers almost every election cycle and expected to run a campaign again this year.
“I kind of like elections,” he said. “You get to get out there and talk to people.”
Destino, who registered as a Democrat shortly after losing to Maziarz in 2012, said he hopes to unseat Maziarz to end what he described as the long-time senator’s reign over all aspects of government in Niagara County.
“I think it’s time we try to expose George to the voters to show them what he’s been up to all these years,” Destino said.
Destino pointed to a recently leaked report from the now-defunct Moreland Commission on Public Corruption, a panel established by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to investigate public corruption in the Legislature that was unraveled by the governor as part of a budget deal earlier this year.
The report named Maziarz as having the most unitemized spending of any member of the Legislature from 2007 to 2013, according to reports from the publication City and State.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bahara has since launched an inquiry into the findings of the commission.
“The fact that the state and federal authorities have finally caught on to what we’ve all known for years is encouraging,” Destino said. “Hopefully it will be enough to open voters’ eyes and make a difference this year.”