Gia Arnold, a 24-year-old Orleans County mother of three, is trying to climb what might be the highest mountain in Western New York politics.
The Holley woman has announced that she intends to mount a challenge to State Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane, in a Republican primary this fall.
If Arnold can qualify for the ballot, she will face a 19-year incumbent who hasn’t had a close race since his first Senate campaign in 1995 – when he’s had an opponent at all.
In 2012, Maziarz rolled up 69 percent of the vote in a GOP primary and 61 percent in the general election. Lopsided as the figures were, they represented the closest races he’s been in as an incumbent.
The 62nd Senate District covers all of Niagara and Orleans counties and a slice of Monroe County.
Arnold has been endorsed by a couple of Maziarz sparring partners and tea party favorites, Buffalo Board of Education member Carl Paladino and Rus Thompson of Grand Island.
Arnold is one of the leaders of New York Revolution, a statewide group opposed to the SAFE Act, the controversial gun control legislation pushed through the State Legislature last year.
She said in her announcement of candidacy that “returning our First and Second Amendment rights” is near the top of her list of priorities. However, Maziarz voted against the SAFE Act.
When she was asked about her lack of political experience, Arnold said, “I have no experience raising taxes or giving in to corruption and greed. I have no experience becoming a career politician. I am strictly running to become a servant to my constituents and will remain available as their voice in Albany.”
She slammed Maziarz’s campaign war chest, which at last report totaled $943,055. Arnold noted that much of it came from energy companies interested in Maziarz’s activities as chairman of the Senate Energy Committee.
Meanwhile, Arnold said, Western New Yorkers battle high heating costs, high taxes and high gasoline prices. “If that’s the best, then we are in real trouble,” she said.