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The Reform Party of New York State is the New York branch of the Reform Party of the United States of America. The branch was founded in 2000 after the Independence Party of New York, the Reform Party's original affiliate in the state, broke off as its own party, which is affiliated with the National Party, chair Bill Merrell disclosed.

Reform Party of New York State
ChairpersonBill C. Merrell, Ph.D
Electoral reform
Founded2000 (2000)
HeadquartersBohemia, New York
National affiliationReform Party of the United States of America
New York State Assembly
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New York State Senate
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New York City Council
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Other elected offices1[1]
Website (national affiliate)

Another party bearing the Reform Party name, which adopted the name after qualifying for ballot access and had a contentious relationship with the national party (particularly after a 2016 coup within that party), existed from 2015 to 2018.

As of February 2019, approximately 400 persons are registered as members of the "Reform Party" in the state of New York.[2]

Branch of the National Reform PartyEdit

The National Reform Party was affiliated with the Independence Party of New York from 1996 to 2000, during which time Jack Essenberg was the Chair of the Independence Party, but they unaffiliated in 2000. The National Reform Party has a state branch in New York [3] since 2007. It did not run any statewide candidates in races between 2007 and 2014, but did get multiple candidates onto the ballot in local elections, most prominently Carl Person, who ran under the Reform Party banner in the 2013 New York City mayoral election.

The national Reform Party claims five elected officials in the state, three of whom are in Rockland County: one county legislator (Charles J. Falciglia, who is registered as a Republican) and two trustees of the village of Suffern. The other two are the town supervisor and a trustee for the town of Lake George.

2015-2018 ballot-qualified Reform PartyEdit

In 2014, Rob Astorino, the Republican Party's nominee in that year's gubernatorial election, petitioned to create the "Stop Common Core Party," a single-issue ballot line designed to declare opposition to the Common Core State Standards Initiative and act as a counterweight to the Women's Equality Party, a new party similarly created by Astorino's Democratic opponent, Andrew Cuomo. Under New York State Law, the Stop Common Core Party would qualify to automatically appear on the ballot for every election through 2018 if it received at least 50,000 votes in the gubernatorial election, a threshold it narrowly achieved despite Astorino's overall loss.

On February 17, 2015, Astorino announced he would change the name of the party to the "Reform Party" to broaden its appeal beyond a single issue and received permission from Bill Merrell, National Reform Party Chair, under and agreement to operate under the rules of the National Reform Party. [4] The party initially ran into opposition from the Conservative Party of New York State, who balked at allowing another ballot line to cross-endorse its candidates.[5] Marie Smith became the chairperson of the state Reform Party.[6]

The national Reform Party lost control of the state party in September 2016 when Curtis Sliwa and Frank Morano led a hostile takeover of the party, installing Sliwa as chairman. Merrell sued to invalidate this takeover, alleging a violation of national guidelines and trademark infringement, but lost due to technical grounds.[7] The original decision from Albany-based Supreme Court Justice Christina Ryba dismissed this suit.[8]

National Reform Party presidential candidate Rocky De La Fuente was not on the New York party line and ran in New York State as a write-in candidate.[9] No candidate appeared on the state Reform Party's Presidential ballot.[10]

The balloted independent Reform Party endorsed perennial candidate Sal Albanese in the 2017 New York City mayoral election[11] and Ben Walsh in the 2017 Syracuse mayoral election. Walsh won, despite not having the endorsement of either the Democratic or Republican Parties (running only on a fusion ticket alongside the Independence Party of New York).[12]

Sliwa remained Chair of the renegade balloted independent Reform Party in 2018, until he lost ballot access. Sliwa considered multiple candidates, including cross-endorsements with potential Republican nominees or with the Libertarian Party of New York, or nominating their own candidate (Joel Giambra had spoken of his interest in the Reform Party line).[13] The party executive committee deadlocked between Giambra and presumptive Republican nominee Marc Molinaro in April. At the party convention on May 19, the party nominated Molinaro and running mate Julie Killian as the gubernatorial ticket, incumbent Democrat Thomas DiNapoli for Comptroller, and offered former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara the attorney general nomination, which he did not accept; Sliwa's wife Nancy, running on a single-issue animal rights platform, then defeated two challengers (Mike Diederich and Libertarian nominee Christopher Garvey) in an open primary to secure the attorney general nomination.

The Independent balloted Reform Party, under Curtis Sliwa finished last among all parties on the ballot in the 2018, far short of the 50,000 votes needed to maintain ballot access and organization.[14] Sliwa has maintained the party's social media accounts, promoting his own potential run for a New York City office.

Bill C. Merrell, Ph.D., the National Chair of the Reform Party is again state chair of the NYS Reform Party.


  1. ^ Duncan, Brenda. "Election 2017: Results for Syracuse mayor, other Onondaga County races". Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  2. ^ Lombardo, David (February 5, 2019). "Libertarian numbers grow in New York". Times Union (Albany, NY). Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Reisman, Nick (February 17, 2015). Astorino files for Reform Party, officially. Time Warner Cable News. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  5. ^ Lovett, Ken (March 9, 2015). Dan Donovan ignores Reform Party at Conservative Party chair's request. New York Daily News. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
  6. ^ Janison, Dan (September 1, 2015). Upstate upstart would crash Cuomo's party. Newsday. Retrieved September 2, 2015.
  7. ^ Mahoney, Bill (October 31, 2016). "Upstart group wins legal battle over control of the Reform Party". Politico. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  8. ^ Mahoney, Bill (October 31, 2016). "Upstart group wins legal battle over control of the Reform Party". Politico. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  9. ^ New York has approximately 30 declared write-in candidates, list still isn't final.
  10. ^ Cattaraugus County, NY sample ballot, November 8, 2016 election. Retrieved October 22, 2016.
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Reform Party of New York & Women's Equality Party lose ballot status". News Growl. 2018-11-07. Retrieved 2018-11-07.

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