Schenectady County Legislator James Buhrmaster said Monday he may enter the race for the 21st Congressional District seat as a Republican candidate.
“It is a perfect opportunity,” he said. “A lot of people have been talking to me. I haven’t talked to anyone in Washington yet, but I will make a decision within two weeks.”
Buhrmaster would be the first declared Republican in a field that includes at least four Democratic candidates.
J. Christopher Callaghan, the Republican former Saratoga County treasurer and a 2006 state comptroller candidate, said Monday he will not run for the congressional seat.
Buhrmaster, 62, is president of Buhrmaster Energy Group and a lifelong resident of Schenectady County. He was re-elected to a second four-year term in the county Legislature in District 3 last year. He is chairman of the Legislature’s Transportation Committee, treasurer of the Schenectady County Industrial Development Agency and a member of Scotia-Glenville Republican Committee.
Buhrmaster has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Syracuse University. He said he would bring a small businessman’s perspective to Congress. He is married with four children.
“Something always needs fixing.” he said. “Washington is broken, the state is broken, taxes are too high. Where do you want me to stop?”
Schenectady County Republican Chairman Tom Buchanan said he has urged Buhrmaster to run for Congress. “He could be the phenomenal candidate. He is a businessman who will bring that perspective to Washington. He is cut from the same cloth as Assemblyman George Amedore Jr.,” he said.
Amedore is vice president of Amedore Homes. A Republican, he won the 105th Assembly District seat in a special election in 2007 against Democrat Edward Kosiur. The seat had belonged to Paul Tonko, a Democrat, who retired last year after 24 years to become head of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
Buchanan said Republicans are not daunted that the 21st Congressional District, like the 105th Assembly District, is heavily Democratic.
“It is a fact. Having said that, Democrats had an advantage in Paul Tonko’s assembly district. And what we showed there with Amedore is if we run the right candidate with the right message, we will succeed,” Buchanan said.
Tonko said last week he also is considering the 21st Congressional District race. Democratic officials consider him a strong candidate if he commits. Three other Democrats have already announced their candidacies: Phil Steck, Colonie Democratic chairman; Tracey Brooks, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton; and Lester Freeman, an Albany Democratic activist.
U.S. Rep. Michael McNulty, D-Green Island, who has held the 21st District seat for 20 years, will not run for re-election this year, he announced in October.
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