John Wasielewski has emerged as the likely Republican candidate in the 109th Assembly District in Albany and Saratoga counties.
His two potential rivals for the nomination, Dan Bazile and Eryn Foster, decided this week not to run. Wasielewski, meanwhile, is picking up key Republican support.
Wasielewski would be the challenger to incumbent state Assemblyman Bob Reilly, who is a Democrat from Colonie. The district includes that town in Albany County along with Clifton Park and Halfmoon in southern Saratoga County. Reilly won the seat four years ago by beating an incumbent Republican, Bob Prentiss, and was easily re-elected in 2006. But the district has almost 10,000 more voters registered as Republicans than Democrats. Wasielewski and Reilly are now the only two declared candidates in the race.
Bazile, spokesman for Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco, R-Schenectady, and a former TV journalist in the Capital Region, said Wednesday that he gave the race serious consideration. He decided not to run for office at this time after discussing the matter at length with his wife, he said, and is endorsing Wasielewski.
Foster said he wound up his campaign in the interest of party unity, and declined to endorse anyone at this point.
The Halfmoon Republican Committee endorsed Wasielewski this week. Colonie Republicans are likely to follow suit next week, according to their chairman, Harry D’Agostino. Clifton Park Republicans meet tonight, and their chairman, Bob Wilcox, said they will likely endorse a candidate. He declined to say which one.
Joshua Fitzpatrick, communications director for Tedisco and spokesman for the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee, said RACC is expecting to support Wasielewski.
Wasielewski is not actually a Republican, but a member of the Conservative Party who is also seeking the Republican line. Foster is a Republican, and Bazile is a member of the Independence Party.
Reilly said he has been getting in shape, literally, for the race, which for him typically involves a good deal of physical activity as he lives up to his slogan of “Reilly’s Running.” At his re-election announcement two years ago, he ran around the statue of Gen. Philip Sheridan mounted on the east side of the state Capitol. He started an exercise program this week, the assemblyman said, as he prepares for his usual door-to-door campaign.
If there are debates, Reilly said, he will participate.
He touted his record, which he said has included delivering higher school aid, and helping put pressure on state leaders to pass the budget on time. He is also working on legislation, including a measure (A-10641) that would protect holders of gift certificates when a business goes under.
Wasielewski has been an officer in the U.S. Army and Air National Guard, and now works as a security consultant for Schenectady International. Issues stressed on his Web site include property tax relief and support for the constitutional rights of gun owners.
Reilly is a retired educator.
More from The Daily Gazette: