A new president of the Niagara USA Chamber should be in place by fall, Interim President David Greenfield said last week.

The chamber has received between 50 and 60 applications, some from out of state.

The organization isn’t necessarily looking for chamber experience, but they would like someone with experience in government affairs. Read: lobbying.

Whoever takes the job will have a highly visible role in the community but will lead an organization that has faced challenges since its inception five years ago. The prevalence of small business associations across the county give some indication that the chamber isn’t home to every business.

The salary for the successful candidate will be at least $70,000.

The official search for a replacement of Thom Kraus, who left after two years to be closer to relatives in New Hampshire, ended Friday.

A search committee will comb through resumes and narrow the field to eight to 12 candidates, who will be interviewed.

After interviews are completed, the final selection will be up to the chamber’s executive committee.

The chamber advertised in local newspapers, in the Albany Times-Union newspaper and with the American Chamber of Commerce Executives organization.

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The state’s political calendar for 2007 was finally released last week after Gov. Eliot Spitzer agreed to the Legislature’s plan to move the primary away from a painful anniversary.

The calendar officially moves the primary from Sept. 11 to 18.

The general election will remain Nov. 6.

The change, precipitated by downstate lawmakers who did not want to hold a primary on Sept. 11, as was the case in 2001, also alters petition deadlines.

Office seekers this year must wait until June 12 to circulate petitions and must file them by July 19.

Financial disclosure deadlines also change. Pre- and post-primary reports are due Aug. 17, Sept. 7 and Sept. 28. Pre- and post-general election disclosure reports are due Oct. 5, Oct. 26 and Dec. 3.

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Finally, one pollster doesn’t think New York will turn Republican during the next presidential election.

“New York has been solidly blue in presidential elections since 1988,” said Steven Greenberg, spokesman for the Siena Research Institute’s New York Poll. “There is no reason to think that 2008 won’t continue that trend.”

A poll released last week finds that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton beats former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in a 52 percent to 39 percent split.

When Sen. Barack Obama goes head-to-head with Giuliani, he wins 50 percent of the vote, compared to Giuliani’s 40 percent. Those statistics are a reversal from November, when Giuliani beat Obama by 6 percent.

Among the parties, Clinton leads Obama in New York by 22 points and Giuliani leads all other Republicans by at least four-to-one margins.

Contact reporter Jill Terreri

at 282-2311, ext. 2250.

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