The Daily Gazette
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Schenectady Democrats getting behind Councilman Erikson

Endorsements for city council on Saturday indicate Carl Erikson and the local Democratic Party machine have resolved any issues that have recently played out in the press.

The executive committee of the Schenectady Democratic Committee endorsed council members Erikson and Marion Porterfield for their upcoming election bids. The committee also interviewed three potential candidates to run for the seat of council member Barbara Blanchard, who isn't expected to seek reelection this year due to health problems.

According to sources at the meeting, Jean Carney, a senior assistant public defender in the county and sister of Schenectady County District Attorney Bob Carney, John Mootooveren, who tried to get appointed to a council vacancy last year, and Robert Barnes, a school board candidate in 2010, all interviewed with the committee about the Blanchard seat. No endorsement was made for the seat.

Carney and Barnes have not formed candidate committees with the state Board of Elections. Mootooveren has a committee, which reported having $2,856.16 in the January filing with the state.

The endorsement for Erikson ends about a month of speculation that he might lose party support. Committee Chairman Richard Naylor previously told the Gazette that some members of the committee weren't happy with Erikson's habit of breaking ranks to side with the lone non-Democrat on the council. No one publicly criticized Erikson.

Erikson said the media "drama" surrounding his relationship with the party appeared to be settled after his conversation with the executive committee. He said they accepted that he will not always be of the same mind as other Democratic city council members or party officials.

The executive committee's endorsements will come up before the full committee in late Spring. Democratic candidates that aren't endorsed could still be on the ballot in the fall, but it's a tough road to even get on a primary ballot without the backing of the party.

Based on the January campaign finance filing, Erikson has about $30 in his campaign chest, which is almost three times what he had at the January filing two years ago. According to Porterfield's filing in January, her campaign had a negative balance of $36.57.

A full story on the endorsement will appear in the Sunday issue of The Daily Gazette.

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