State Sen. Pam Helming, R-Canandaigua, faces challenge from a former Democratic rival, while she backs a former GOP primary challenger for an Assembly seat

Two candidates who voters in the Finger Lakes region saw in the 2016 election are back.

Democrat Kenan Baldridge announced this week his plans to challenge state Sen. Pam Helming, R-Canandaigua, in the 54th state Senate District. Baldridge, who is a town supervisor in Wayne County, ran against Helming in the November 2016 election.

In her recent re-election bid, Helming announced she has the backing of the six Republican chairs representing counties of the 54th. The district covers Wayne and Seneca counties, portions of Ontario and Cayuga counties and the towns of Webster in Monroe County and Lansing in Tompkins County.

Baldridge, who is supervisor for the town of Rose in Wayne County, plans to announce his candidacy at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, May 12, on the steps of the Wayne County Courthouse, 26 Court Street in Lyons. Democrat Shauna Marie O’Toole of Geneva, who last fall announced her intentions to run for the 54th, is no longer in the running.

Also a town supervisor in Wayne County, Republican Brian Manktelow announced this week he is running for the Assembly seat coming vacant with the upcoming retirement of Assemblyman Bob Oaks, R-Macedon. The 130th Assembly District covers all of Wayne County and portions of Cayuga and Oswego counties. Manktelow, who is Lyons town supervisor, said he is seeking the Republican, Conservative and Independence Party endorsements.

In a statement, Manktelow said people urged him to run because of his “experience as a farmer, local elected official, and veteran. I look forward to following in Bob’s footsteps and being a strong and outspoken advocate on behalf of our region’s taxpayers.”

Manktelow was one of a slew of GOP primary candidates who ran in 2016 to fill the vacant seat created by the retirement of state Sen. Michael Nozzolio, R-Fayette. Helming is now backing her former rival for the Assembly seat, stating in a release that as state senator she has worked with Manktelow on a number of issues important to the people of the region. “He will not be afraid to stand up for our values in Albany. I look forward to working with Brian as we fight to reduce the burden on taxpayers, protect our Second Amendment, and support policies that will drive job creation,” stated Helming.

Oaks recently announced he will be retiring at the end of the year after more than 40 years in public office in Wayne County, with more than a quarter-century of that in state government. Oaks said he is retiring to spend more time with his family and plans to remain chairman of the Wayne County Republican Committee.

In the 2016 general election, Helming amassed nearly 56 percent of the vote in a three-way contest between Helming, Baldridge and Reform candidate Floyd Rayburn. The race attracted nearly 70 percent of registered voters in the district.

Political Roundup, a clearinghouse of announcements and developments in local politics, runs on Fridays in the Daily Messenger. To submit an item for consideration, email senior reporter Julie Sherwood at