Late assemblyman wins primary, party leaders to select replacement

The Evening Tribune

Bill Nojay won the Republican primary for the state Assembly in the 133rd District Tuesday despite committing suicide Sept. 9.

Nojay's posthumous victory, which was attained by garnering a comfortable 60 percent of the vote to 39 percent for Honeoye Falls Mayor Richard B. Milne, throws the Republican line in the Nov. 8 general election into uncertain territory.

He beat Milne overall 2,736-1,763 district wide.

Steuben County Republicans showed overwhelming support for the late assemblyman. He won the county with better than 73 percent.

Milne, 55, won in Monroe County, according to unofficial election results, 653-606. In Livingston County, it was Nojay over Milne 1492-886. There were a total of 4,541 votes cast. 

The Republican Party chairmen of the three counties in the 133rd District — Rusty Smith of Steuben, Bill Reilich of Monroe and Lowell Conrad of Livingston — must choose a candidate within 10 days of Nojay's death, which in this case is Sept. 19. Officials said the party leaders will use a weighted system based on votes by county in the 2014 Assembly district election.

Nojay had also earned three minor party lines for the general election: Reform, Independence and Conservative. Election officials said state leaders of those parties will have the responsibility of choosing replacement candidates.

There were calls Tuesday night for the chairmen to select a candidate with similar conservative credentials as Nojay.

"Now it is our hope that Conservative and Republican Party leadership can come together to identify a candidate that will carry on in the spirit of Bill Nojay," said Livingston County Chairman Jason J. McGuire.

Nojay, a two-term state lawmaker who lived in Pittsford, was reportedly facing a federal indictment for fraud when he died of a self inflicted gunshot wound in a Rochester cemetery.

Local political observers have pointed out that while it's not extraordinarily unusual for a candidate to die during an election campaign, Nojay's death four days before the primary appears to be unprecedented in the region.

The Democratic candidate in the Republican-leaning district is Barbara Baer.