Six candidates, including Otsego County Judge Michael Coccoma, have been nominated to run for three open spots as state Supreme Court justices in the Sixth Judicial District.

The Sixth Judicial District comprises Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Madison, Otsego, Schuyler, Tioga and Tompkins counties. Justices serve 14-year terms at an annual salary of $136,700.

Coccoma was one of three Republicans nominated by the Republican convention, according to Mary Longacker of the state Board of Elections.

The other two Republicans are incumbent state Supreme Court Justice Phillip Rumsey of Cortland and Joseph Fazzary, Schuyler County district attorney.

In the November election, they will be opposed by three Democratic nominees: Donald Cerio, Madison County's district attorney; Binghamton lawyer Molly Fitzgerald; and Horseheads lawyer Richard Rich Jr.

All of the Republicans also will be running on other ballot lines. They have been endorsed by the Conservative Party and also were nominated in a first-ever Independence Party convention, according to Matt Schuermann of Cooperstown, a member of that party.

Schuermann said the Independence Party convention, which was held at the Canasawacta Country Club in Norwich on Sept. 22, drew about 22 delegates.

Coccoma, Rumsey and Fazzary were the candidates nominated and approved by the delegates, he said.

Schuermann said he believes the judicial convention may be a sign that the Independence Party, Otsego County's third-largest organized political party with 1,534 members in 2006, may become more active.

``I think we're ready to do more,'' he said.

Two of the Democratic nominees, Fitzgerald and Rich, also will run as nominees of the Working Families Party, Longacker said Monday.

``Their paperwork hasn't arrived, but it's on the way,'' she said.

Historically, the district has voted Republican, but last year Democrat Elizabeth Garry, of New Berlin, beat Madison County Judge Dennis McDermott, a Republican. Garry, who was New Berlin's town justice, was the first Democrat to be elected a state Supreme Court justice in the district.

Much of the vote is centered in Broome County, home to 52,160 Republicans and 47,340 Democrats. The third-largest bloc of votes is held by unaligned, or ``independent'' voters, who numbered 23,464 in 2006.

The votes in Otsego County are divided similarly, with 14,907 Republicans, 10,800 Democrats and 7,126 voters who are not members of any party.

Sheila Ross, who was slated to be elected Otsego County's Republican chairwoman Monday night, said she's pulling for Coccoma.

``He's the right man for the job,'' she said.

Ed Lentz, vice chairman of Otsego County's Democratic party, said he was impressed by the Democratic nominees.

``They're objective, open-minded and they have very good knowledge of the law,'' he said.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

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