GLOVERSVILLE - City Court candidates Traci DiMezza and John Clo say their campaigns haven't changed since the third candidate, Matthew Trainor, announced after the Republican primary he was dropping out of the race.
DiMezza and Clo, the current City Court judge, also say they don't think either of them benefited from Trainor's announcement.
"I am now trying to appeal to the community at large as opposed to the primary where we were focusing on Republican voters," said DiMezza, who has outspent Clo in the campaign by a 4-1 ratio. "Not that we were ignoring that section of the population, but now we are making a concerted effort to reach out to as many voters as we possibly can."
Clo continues to emphasize his experience.
"What I bring to this court is true, honest in-the-trenches experience," said Clo. "I am the candidate with the most experience by a long shot. My involvement and commitment to the community goes back decades. That experience matters because this is a very busy people's court."
DiMezza, who recently was endorsed by the city Republican committee, won the Republican primary with 526 votes. Clo received 409 votes and Trainor 186. DiMezza also won the Conservative party nomination in September. She received 13 votes over Clo's seven and Trainor's three.
Despite losing the primaries, Clo and Trainor are on the general election ballot as independent candidates, although Trainor stopped campaigning.
There are 3,141 registered Republicans and 81 registered Conservatives in Gloversville. About one-third of the city's Republican voters and one-quarter of Conservative voters cast ballots during the September primary elections.
DiMezza, who also is running on an independent line in the general election, said her mission and focus for most of her candidacy has been to concentrate on her campaign and not worry about what her opponent is doing or saying.
DiMezza has practiced law for 17 years after receiving a law degree from Quinnipiac University School of Law in Hamden, Conn., in 1995. She earned a bachelor's degree in political science at Siena College in Loudonville and an associate degree from Fulton-Montgomery Community College.
She has worked in advanced criminal law as an appellate attorney with the Schenectady County Public Defender's Office and has been a Fulton County law guardian for children and youths in custody, abuse, neglect, juvenile delinquency and Persons in Need of Supervision proceedings.
DiMezza said she is out every day knocking on doors and trying to schedule as many public appearances as possible before the November election.
"This is a lifelong aspiration of mine," said DiMezza. "The thing that distinguishes me from my opponent is I have never been involved in city politics, I never ran for public office, and I have never held a city position. I really think that is something that hallmarks me the most because it's important when you serve on the bench to take that position with a real level of independence and impartiality."
Clo was appointed City Court judge in mid-December by Mayor Dayton King to fill out the term of retiring Judge Vincent DeSantis, but this is the first outright election for the position. He is running on an independent line called Truth and Honor.
He received a law degree from Albany Law School in 1992 after earning a bachelor's degree from the State University of New York Regents College and an associate degree from Onondaga Community College in Syracuse. He took the long route to a bachelor's degree, starting out as a music major at Onondaga with emphasis in percussion and then doing a four-year stint in the Navy before eventually finishing his bachelor's degree.
Clo touts his diverse background of 20 years in law as a major plus in the judgeship race. His practice has comprised experience in municipal, criminal and civil law. He was Gloversville city attorney from 2004 to 2009, an assistant district attorney for Montgomery County from 1996 to 2011, an attorney in private practice from 1993 until being appointed City Court judge, and counsel for the state Assembly's Small Business Committee from 1994 to 1996.
Clo said if residents of the city want to know what kind of job he would do, they are welcome to come to City Court to see him in action.
"I have found since becoming judge that given my experience, background and qualifications, this job fits me like a hand in a glove," said Clo. "It's something I have a passion for and allows me to give back to the city."
Clo said one of his goals as judge was to increase community service in the city, and he believes he has been very successful in doing that.
"In a city like this, you often have residents that have the time but no money," said Clo. "I have looked to increase community service to help the city and help those that come into this court with little options."
Clo said he is working with Democrats in the city and county to broaden his appeal for the coming election. He hopes that by reaching out to non-affiliated voters in the city, he can top DiMezza in the November election.
The Gloversville Democratic Committee recently announced it was sponsoring a candidates forum for the position of City Court judge, but the committee won't be able to hold the event because DiMezza said she won't attend. She said she felt the event was biased.
"I look forward to participating in another forum with John Clo. However, the forum in question was organized and advertised without my prior permission or consulting with my schedule," DiMezza said. "We [the Republican committee and DiMezza] are going to attempt to schedule a similar event that is fair to both candidates at a later date."
"A well-informed voter is the foundation of our democracy," said Clo. "I will attend any forum by any committee and featuring any moderator. I will be the person and judge I am regardless to the setting or scene."
According to campaign financial disclosure documents provided on the New York State Board of Elections website, Clo has received $4,760 in campaign contributions and DiMezza has received $34,243. The disclosure showed DiMezza has provided nearly all of her own contributions.
The documents also showed Clo has spent $8,015 on his campaign, while DiMezza has spent $32,406.
There are no Democratic candidates in the race for the judgeship, which carries a 10-year term and pays $127,400 annually.
Levi Pascher covers Gloversville news. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org