Saratoga County

Primaries likely for Bruno’s seat

Primary elections appear possible for both the Republican and Democratic nominations in the 43rd


Primary elections appear possible for both the Republican and Democratic nominations in the 43rd Senate District, which is currently represented by state Sen. Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick.

Bruno, who stepped down last week as Senate majority leader, is not seeking re-election.

Three candidates are running on the Democratic side. They do not include former Saratoga Springs mayor Valerie Keehn, who considered running but decided instead to endorse Saratoga Springs county Supervisor Joanne Yepsen.

Also running for the Democratic nomination are Mike Russo, district director for U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-Greenport, and Brian Premo, an attorney who lives in the Rensselaer County town of Brunswick. Premo is the only candidate who announced before Bruno said he wasn’t running. As a result, Premo received the endorsement of the Rensselaer and Saratoga County Democratic committees.

Raymond Seney, a 49-year-old computer consultant and a councilman and former supervisor from the Rensselaer County town of Nassau, said Monday he is circulating petitions for the Republican nomination.

The apparent GOP front-runner is Assemblyman Roy McDonald of Saratoga, who is supported by Bruno and the party establishments in both Saratoga and Rensselaer counties. McDonald said he will formally announce his candidacy on Wednesday, at 10:30 a.m. in Troy and at 1 p.m. in Congress Park in Saratoga Springs. Saratoga County Republican Chairman John “Jasper” Nolan said McDonald would be seeking the Republican, Independence and Conservative party lines.

The majority-Republican 43rd Senate District encompasses eastern Saratoga County, including most of Saratoga Springs, and all of Rensselaer County. Democrats are making a major push to take over the state Senate this year, which may translate to a more vigorous than usual contest in this district.

Premo tried to run against Bruno two years ago, and maintained that the senator was beatable. At that time, lawyers working for Bruno and the Saratoga County Democratic Party combined to knock Premo off the ballot, and Bruno ran unopposed. Petitions must be filed with the state Board of Elections by July 10, and could be subjected to legal challenges.

While Premo lined up support from the Democratic Party establishment this year, some Democrats, including former Saratoga Springs Department of Public Works Commissioner Tom McTygue, were backing Bruno before he dropped out. Bruno’s petitions were being circulated for another term, but he dropped out last Monday.

Keehn could not be reached for comment. Yepsen issued a statement quoting Keehn as saying, “I am very pleased to support Joanne; she has a record of commitment to open government, transparency, and constituency service, which will be a welcome change for the citizens of the 43rd Senate District.”

Russo was a longtime local president of the Glass, Molders, Pottery Plastics and Allied Workers International Union Local 77 in Albany.

Although McTygue and Keehn are both Democrats, they feuded with each other in 2006 and 2007, which may have contributed to both being defeated by Republicans last year.

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