Party members tackle primaries
Election moved to Thursday because of 9/11 anniversary
CAPITAL REGION On Thursday, voters will be sorting out candidates in primary voting in two local state Senate races and in several of the region’s state Assembly districts.
Yes, on Thursday. While primary and general elections have traditionally been held on Tuesdays, the state Legislature decided to move this year’s primary elections to another day to avoid conflicts with the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and related memorial services if the vote were Tuesday.
Polls in Capital Region communities with elections will be open from noon to 9 p.m. Most Senate and Assembly districts have new boundaries after redistricting done earlier this year to align them to the 2010 census results.
Often, in state politics, a district’s enrollment is weighted so heavily toward one party or the other that a primary victory is tantamount to winning a general election — and that will be the case in many instances on Thursday.
The most high-profile local primary — both in political circles and with aggressive ads on local airwaves — is in the 43rd State Senate District, where two Republican veterans of Saratoga County politics are tangling. Saratoga County Clerk Kathleen A. Marchione wants to unseat incumbent Sen. Roy J. McDonald, a former colleague on the county Board of Supervisors.
Marchione has criticized McDonald’s votes last year in support of gay marriage and to raise taxes on millionaires, saying they broke promises he had made earlier. McDonald has said he’s focusing on economic development issues and job creation.
McDonald, 65, was elected to the Senate in 2008 after six years in the Assembly and 23 years before that as Wilton town supervisor. Marchione, 58, of Halfmoon, has been in public office 32 years, including 15 years as county clerk.
The newly reconfigured 43rd Senate District includes eastern Saratoga County, most of Rensselaer County, all of Columbia County, and a corner of Washington County.
Marchione is party-endorsed for the Conservative party nomination, but faces a primary challenge from Ed Gilbert of East Greenbush.
But there’s another Senate race in the region, too, with a longtime incumbent facing an intra-party challenge. In the 44th Senate District, eight-term incumbent Democrat Neil D. Breslin faces a primary challenge from Shawn M. Morse, a Cohoes firefighter and chairman of the Albany County Legislature. The district is in Albany and Rensselaer counties.
In the newly established 46th Senate District, meanwhile, Democrats Thomas E. Dolan of Coeymans, Monica Arias Miranda of Rotterdam and Cecilia Tkaczyk of Duanesburg will face off in a primary for the chance to run in November against George Amedore, the Republican assemblyman from Rotterdam who is uncontested for the new seat’s Republican nomination.
In the 51st Senate District, a central New York district that stretches to include all of Schoharie County, 26-year incumbent Republican James L. Seward faces a challenge from James W. Blake of Schenevus.
In local Assembly primaries, there are four districts where Democrats — sometimes a host of them — are looking to replace retiring incumbents.
In the 108th District, Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari of Cohoes is retiring after 22 years. Cohoes Mayor John T. McDonald III and Albany Common Council President Carolyn McLaughlin are running to replace the local legend.
But in the neighboring 109th District, a much larger field of six Democrats is vying to replace Assemblyman John McEneny of Albany, who is retiring after 20 years.
The candidates to succeed McEneny are Albany Common Council member Frank J. Commisso Jr., Albany County legislator Christopher Higgins, former Albany County executive Jim Coyne, former associate state labor commissioner and Albany school board president Patricia Fahy, attorney William J. McCarthy Jr., and Assembly staffer Margarita Perez.
Fahy and Ted Danz, who is a local businessman and is the Republican nominee in this race, will square off for in the Independence Party primary. Danz is also mounting a write-in campaign for the Conservative Party nomination, which will be decided in a contest with party-backed candidate Joseph Sullivan. Because Danz filed Opportunity to Ballot petitions to participate as a write-in in the Conservative party primary, only Sullivan’s name will appear on the ballot.
Four Democrats are contending in the 110th District to replace the retiring Robert Reilly. They are Niskayuna Town Supervisor Joe Landry, Albany County legislators Philip G. Steck and Timothy D. Nichols, and former Assembly staffer Kevin O. Frazier.
In an Independence Party primary in the 110th, Steck, Landry, and Frazier are competing with Jennifer A. Whalen, who has the Republican nomination for the seat locked up.
There is also a long-shot bid for the Working Families Party nomination being waged by Landry, who has a write-in campaign to challenge the party’s endorsed candidate, Steck.
In the only local-level election primary in the region, defense attorney Lee Kindlon is challenging two-term incumbent David Soares in a Democratic primary for Albany County district attorney.