State Senator Marc Panepinto will not run for re-election in Western New York's 60th District. Flanked by family and colleagues, Panepinto made the announcement at his law office late Tuesday afternoon.
Panepinto says he won't run again for both personal and professional reasons. He says his law partner is struggling with cancer and he's needed more at the firm. Panepinto also says he's worried about a potential legislature-wide ban on outside income that would make him unable to do his job.
Finally the senator made reference to unspecified staff turnover in his office which he's cooperating with.
"I don't want my issues to stand in the way of this seat being held by a Democrat. It was a Democratic majority is what's going to maintain or push forward a progressive agenda," said Panepinto.
Panepinto says there is no Senate Ethics investigation but he wouldn't talk about why his chief of staff recently left.
Two years ago the Democrat Panepinto won the seat previously held by a Republican Mark Grisanti.
Erie County Republican committee chairman Nick Langworthy had strong words to say concerning Panepinto's announcement.
"Marc Panepinto created far more questions than answers as to why he is not seeking re-election to the New York State Senate. By casually mentioning a "staff turnover" issue and saying that the "process would play out," he clearly is withholding some facts that have led to his abandoning his campaign for re-election," he said.
"After spending an absolute personal fortune on his campaign in 2014, it is highly unlikely he would quit unless there was very serious ethical issues in question. He will leave office with a dark cloud over his head unless he comes clean as to why he is really leaving the senate. I trust that the local media will help gather the real facts that Panepinto withheld in his announcement," said Langworthy.
Erie County Democratic Committee Chairman Jeremy Zellner says the group regretfully accepts Panepinto's decision and agree it's the right choice, under the circumstances.
"The Erie County Democratic Committee will now move forward with a careful, inclusive nominating process in order to select the strongest possible candidate to represent the 60th Senate District at a time of great challenges and opportunities for our region and our state," said Zellner.
Senate Democratic leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins says she has no doubt her party will find a suitable candidate to replace Panepinto that could win the seat. She said she was taken by surprise when she learned of his decision.
"He did tell me this morning he was not going to run. I mean, people have to live their lives, they have to make decisions that are appropriate for them. I wish him well but he will continue on for the rest of the session and we look forward to the future," said Stewart-Cousins.