aksharRepublicans are backing Broome County Undersheriff Fred Akshar to replace former Sen. Tom Libous in the 52nd district special election, GOP officials on Monday announced.

“I’ve committed my life to making our community the best it could be,” said Akshar in a statement released by his campaign. “The families in our community deserve a strong, energetic voice. I plan to bring the same passion and dedication from my service in law enforcement to the State Senate.”

Akshar is entering a race that has drawn statewide notice after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s early endorsement of former Broome County Executive Barbara Fiala, who was a member of his cabinet during his first term.

In what seemed like a nod to Fiala’s early criticism of Akshar’s lack of government experience, the campaign released the candidate’s resume, showing his eight years as a law enforcement official and graduation from the FBI National Academy in Virginia.

“Fred’s not a career politician, but he is a career public servant,” said Broome County Executive Debbie Preston. “He’s a fresh face with energy and passion for the job. He’ll be a great representative for our community and our way of life.”

In addition to Akshar, Denver Jones, a Republican who launched a primary challenge last year to Libous, says he is running in the special election.

Republicans are turning to a law enforcement figure after the ouster of Libous last month following his conviction on a charge of lying to the FBI. A felony conviction automatically leads to the removal of a lawmaker from office.

The race could have statewide implications given the narrow majority Republicans hold in the chamber, making for an early test for recently elected majority leader, John Flanagan of Suffolk County.

But the race itself in many respects is being seen as an early proving ground for what could be a contentious 2016 battle for control of the chamber. Democrats in particular are confident they will make gains in next year’s legislative races in part due to it being a presidential election year, which will typically draw out more Democratic voters in New York.

Still, Republicans are concentrating heavily on the Southern Tier-based seat, which covers four counties and has a GOP voter enrollment edge.

Republicans contend Cuomo’s involvement in the race, however, could hurt Fiala given the opposition in upstate communities to his gun control law as well as the controversy over a ban on hydrofracking in the state.