CARS HOMES JOBS

Saratoga County GOP chairman called biased against female candidates

Thursday, May 3, 2012
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— Saratoga County Republican Committee Chairman Jasper Nolan is coming under fire for his handling of the party’s endorsement in the primary race between state Sen. Roy McDonald and Saratoga County Clerk Kathy Marchione.

Halfmoon Republican Committee Chairwoman Regina Parker wrote an email to Nolan on Tuesday night that outlined what she felt was a pattern of disregard for female candidates, which has most recently been shown by delays in the county committee’s endorsement of a candidate in McDonald’s 43rd state Senate District.

Parker declined Wednesday to elaborate on her comments, saying, “The email speaks for itself.”

She said in the email that her statements were prompted by a notice Nolan sent out from Republican legal adviser James Walsh, who said that an endorsement by the county in the state Senate race should be delayed because of legal issues around redistricting.

She highlighted the fact that there was no call at a March 17 meeting to delay under similar legal circumstances.

“It is abundantly clear that your actions are geared toward preventing the county committee from endorsing Kathy Marchione,” Parker wrote in reference to the delayed endorsement. The committee had endorsed its candidates in other state races.

She added that this isn’t the first time Nolan has demonstrated a reluctance to embrace a female candidate. “The message you are sending to the women of our party is clear: ‘You’re good enough to carry our petitions, put up our lawn signs and give us your money, but if you want to run for higher office, you’re out of luck,’ ” she wrote.

In response to the email, which was also sent to the chairs of other Republican committees in Saratoga County, Nolan said he was “disappointed.”

He said people are anxious to get on with the endorsement and he is just following a schedule based on legal advice. He would not respond to specific attacks leveled by Parker or the allegation that he is opposed to female candidates.

The endorsement of a candidate in this race was initially delayed when Marchione announced her interest in running at the March 17 meeting — a dispute arose over whether committees outside the district, but still within Saratoga County, could vote on the county endorsement. When the endorsement hasn’t been contested in the past, the issue hasn’t come up and the county committee’s by-laws do not specifically answer the question of who can vote on the endorsement.

Marchione spokesman Ken Giradin felt Parker raised some good points in her email.

“There’s a disturbing pattern in Chairman Nolan’s attitudes and actions towards female candidates. This year, he had no problem allowing endorsements when only men were applying,” he said.

The McDonald campaign would not comment on the email.

Nolan has previously told The Gazette that he expects an endorsement in the state Senate race in the middle of May.

 
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