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Rare Conservative Party Primary in Race for Onondaga County Sheriff

For the first time in years, the 4,739 enrolled members of Onondaga County’s Conservative Party will have a primary election.  Committee members have endorsed Democratic candidate for sheriff Toby Shelley to run on the Conservative Party line.  
 Party Chair Chuck Mancabelli says both Shelley and Republican Party candidate Gene Conway were vetted through resumes and interviews, and Shelley came out on top.  
Shelley might be the Conservative Party’s endorsed candidate, but petitions submitted in the race have opened the ballot for a write-in.  

Democratic candidate for sheriff Toby Shelley hopes to pull out a win in the Conservative Party Primary Sept. 9.

   Still, he says he's very surprised and honored by the nomination.  Shelley says this campaign is different than his 2010 challenge of then-incumbent Kevin Walsh.

Democratic candidate for sheriff Toby Shelley says a combination of his plans for the sheriff's department and his 30 years of military service might have factored into his endorsement by the Conservative Party Committee.

  But anything can happen if enough party members go against the party’s endorsement and choose to write-in someone else.  Meanwhile, Shelley says he’ll work to get the vote out on primary day, and then shift gears to the Democrat-Republican race for the general election against Gene Conway.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at