In an announcement that has sent shockwaves through western New York and statewide political circles, influential Niagara County Republican State Senator George Maziarz will not seek re-election to an 11th term representing the citizens of Niagara, Orleans and Monroe Counties in the Senate.

Sen. Maziarz denied rumors as late as Saturday night that his political life may be coming to an end amidst a federal probe looking into some of his campaign spending and the resignations of two top political aids.

The Senator has adamantly denied any wrongdoing and maintains he has simply grown tired of the Albany grind and wishes to spend more time with his wife Beverly.

Maziarz’s decision throws another wrench into the Senate GOP’s plans to reclaim the upper chamber. Nominating petitions have been circulated to qualify Senator Maziarz to run this November as the candidate of the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties.

North Tonawanda Mayor Robert G. Ortt’s name has surfaced as a potential successor. Johnny Destino, who mounted a GOP primary challenge to Maziarz in 2012, will likely be the Democratic nominee.

As Unshackle Upstate begins to transition into the political season, we will be watching developments in this race very closely.