Schenectady County

House race field widens

A former city of Albany Republican chairman, now a Democrat, will run for an open seat in the 21st C

A former city of Albany Republican chairman, now a Democrat, will run for an open seat in the 21st Congressional District, he announced Tuesday.

Joseph P. Sullivan, who switched parties two years ago, becomes the 11th candidate to declare for U.S. Rep. Michael McNulty’s seat. McNulty, D-Green Island, is retiring at the end of his term this year after 20 years in the House of Representatives.

Sullivan said he will focus on fighting terrorism, strengthening education, securing America’s borders and fixing transportation infrastructure.

Sullivan is a Navy veteran and a retired state Senate administrative staffer. He ran unsuccessfully as a Republican against Mayor Jerry Jennings, a Democrat, in 2001.

Sullivan faces an uphill battle for the congressional seat. He is unlikely to receive endorsements from the major county committees of the Democratic Party, as all have made endorsements or are planning to endorse candidates already in the race.

Candidates for Congress must submit designating petitions by July 10. There will be a primary among the nine Democrats on Sept. 9. It is unclear if the two Republicans will face a primary.

Those two are James Buhrmaster of Glenville and Steven Vasquez of Ballston Lake.

The other Democrats seeking the seat are: John Aretakis, an attorney from North Greenbush; Tracey Brooks, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton; Craig Burridge, executive director of the Pharmacists Society of New York; Lester Freeman, the city of Albany’s equal employment opportunity officer; Darius Shahinfar, an Albany attorney and former aide to Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand; Phil Steck, chairman of the Colonie Democratic Committee and an attorney practicing civil rights and labor law; Paul Tonko, former 105th District assemblyman and former chairman of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority; and Arthur Welser, a licensed broker with Real Property Enterprises in North Greenbush.

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