Categories: Schenectady County
Republican Anthony “Tony” Jordan and Democrat Ian McGaughey are waging an all-out, heavily-funded battle for the open seat in the 112th state Assembly District.
Both candidates are expected to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on television and radio advertising.
They are also out pounding the pavement with almost non-stop, door-to-door campaigning during the final weeks before election day in the generally suburban and rural district.
Jordan and McGaughey both say the upstate economy and escalating property taxes are key issues in the campaign. But each candidate has his own way of addressing the problems.
McGaughey supports a circuit breaker tax cap that he maintains will “bring tax relief to those who need it most while protecting funding for our kids’ education.” The property tax “circuit breaker” would ensure that a person’s property taxes don’t exceed a certain percentage of the homeowner’s income.
Jordan said he has a three-point plan to relieve the economic “squeeze” families and businesses are enduring: “property taxes need to be capped,” a circuit breaker introduced, and wasteful spending in Albany cut drastically.
Both candidates also said they will work to help the district’s many farms and tackle the problem of high gas and diesel fuel prices.
The 112th Assembly District includes all of Washington County, five Saratoga County towns (Wilton, Malta, Saratoga, Northumberland, and Stillwater) and the city of Mechanicville as well as six rural Rensselaer County towns.
Assemblyman Roy McDonald, R-Saratoga, currently represents the district but is running for the 43rd state Senate District seat vacated this summer by former state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick.
This means the district is open, without an incumbent. The Republican Assembly Campaign Committee and the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee in Albany are both pouring money into what both candidates consider to be a close election race.
There are 37,345 registered voters in Washington County and 37,208 voters in the portion of Saratoga County in the district and about 15,000 voters in the Rensselaer County portion of the district, according to the state Board of Elections.
Of these voters, 39,373 are Republican, 21,712 are Democrats and 20,670 are independent or “blank” voters with no party affiliation. The balance of the voters in the district are enrolled in small, fringe parties.
Campaign workers for Jordan say he could spend as much as $600,000 on television and radio advertising before the campaign is over. McGaughey’s campaign people expect he will spend as much as $350,000 on television and radio ads by Nov. 4. But Jordan’s people maintain McGaughey will spend much more than this judging from what he had spent on television and radio by Oct. 17.
This level of campaign spending was unheard of during previous campaigns in the 112th District. McDonald, who sometimes ran unopposed in the predominately Republican district, said his campaign committee spent a fraction of the current race’s money even when he had opposition.
McGaughey introduced an unusual element to his campaign, saying this summer that he will not take an Assembly salary of $79,500 per year. He said he is a small businessman but can afford to make the sacrifice. He said he would distribute the money to local charities.
“This way I can help community causes, and at the same time be an independent voice to help address residents’ concerns in the Assembly,” McGaughey said.
McGaughey stresses his independence from party operatives in Albany and accused Jordan of being part of the current culture in Albany.
Jordan, in response, said he is proud to have been endorsed by his fellow Republicans, both in the district and in Albany.
Assemblyman McDonald has endorsed Jordan as have the Republican committee chairmen in all three counties in the district.
Jordan has also been endorsed by local Republican leaders such as Wilton Supervisor Arthur Johnson and Wilton Deputy Supervisor Ray O’Conor, even though McGaughey is a member of the Wilton Town Board.
When McGaughey ran radio advertising during the campaign saying that he “didn’t just cut taxes, he eliminated them” as a member of the Wilton Town Board, Jordan asked that McGaughey remove the ads from the airwaves because Jordan maintained the ads’ claims were not true. He said that the Wilton Town Board first eliminated town general fund and highway fund taxes back in the early 1980s and there have been no town-level taxes in Wilton since that time.
McGaughey disagreed, saying that when each Town Board votes to adopt a town budget for the coming year it votes to eliminate taxes.
Jordan reported what he felt were unfair campaign ads to Fair Campaign Practices For the Capital Region Inc., an organization created in 1999 by League of Women Voters chapters in four counties.
The Fair Campaign organization held a hearing Oct. 6 in Saratoga Springs and determined that McGaughey’s radio ads were misleading and were, indeed, an unfair campaign practice. The Fair Campaign organization has no legal or statutory power to punish a candidate, other than by releasing the results of its campaign practice hearing to newspapers and other media.
“It’s clearly a close race,” McGaughey said. “I’m confident, things are looking good.”
Jordan also said his campaign was going well.
“Things seem to be going great,” Jordan said. “Since July I have knocked on thousands of doors.”
“I’ve really enjoyed meeting the people,” Jordan said. “I’m cautiously optimistic.”