GOP, Alliance Party join to back Patierne for Schenectady City Council
SCHENECTADY The Republican and Alliance parties have joined forces to run one candidate against the Democrats for City Council.
Richard Patierne, who lost a bid for the Schenectady County Legislature last year, was endorsed Tuesday by the Alliance and Republican parties.
His opponent is yet to be determined. Democrats are coalescing around Marion Porterfield, who is to be appointed to the City Council on Monday, but Woodlawn ward leader Robert Sanders is raising money for a possible primary against her.
Republican and Alliance leaders said they hope they can take advantage of the Democrats’ disarray by presenting a united front.
“We’re hoping that will make a difference,” city Republican Committee Chairman Michael Cuevas said of the joint endorsement.
Alliance Party founder Roger Hull said the choice was good strategy for defeating the Democrats.
“Obviously, when you’re going against the machine — and it is a machine — any time we can end up on the same page is a plus,” he said.
But he said the Alliance Party made its decision before knowing who the Republicans would choose.
“We interviewed candidates, and he was the best,” Hull said.
Both leaders said Patierne was impressive in his campaigning last year — even though he came in last among four candidates for two seats in District 1, with 19 percent of the vote, or 1,528 votes.
“Everybody was impressed with the hard work he put into the campaign,” Cuevas said.
Patierne, 45, said his first loss didn’t faze him. After all, he said, he grew up in politics: His father was a ward leader in Schenectady.
He lives in the Northside neighborhood, where he and his wife have raised their children, and works at Union College as manager of building services.
In the campaign, he plans to focus on neighborhood revitalization.
“Neighborhoods will be a huge campaign issue,” he said. “Quality of life issues, we absolutely have to tackle.”
He also wants to give police the tools to fight crime, “so people aren’t afraid to walk the streets.”
And then there’s taxes. “Taxes are driving people out of the city,” he said.
He isn’t proposing solutions yet — but he said he would, over the course of the campaign.
“I want to be part of the solutions to the problems,” he said.
Just one council seat is up in November’s election. The city must hold an election to fill the seat vacated when Gary McCarthy resigned from the council on Jan. 1 to become mayor. The winner will have to run again next year to win a full, four-year term.
Currently, the council has five Democrats and one independent, Vince Riggi, who won a seat last year. Riggi was supported by the Republicans and the Alliance, and became the first non-Democrat to win a seat since Republican Cathy Lewis won in 2001. She lost re-election in 2005, and the council was then entirely made up of Democrats until Riggi took office this year.