Schenectady County

Amedore could face primary challenger

Members of the Rotterdam Republican Committee are discussing a possible primary challenge to state A

Members of the Rotterdam Republican Committee are discussing a possible primary challenge to state Assemblyman George Amedore, some saying that he didn’t help the party during a tough election season last fall.

Petitions have circulated among town committee members recently calling for the party to conduct a special meeting regarding Amedore’s endorsement. Some committee members who signed the petition are suggesting former committee Chairman Gerard Parisi as possibly better suited for the state Legislature’s 105th Assembly District.

“It’s time for some new faces in Albany,” said Mary Barrie, a committee member who made an unsuccessful run for a seat on the Schenectady County Legislature in November. “You have someone who’s willing to run, so let’s give him a try.”

Several committee members who signed the petition said they remain rankled by what they perceive as Amedore’s lack of support during heated county and town contests in November. Rotterdam Republicans were beaten in every contested race, leading to a clean sweep of the GOP-controlled Town Board and the loss of one seat on the county Legislature.

Rotterdam committee member Frank Salamone said he signed the petition to determine what options are available for the seat, not as a call to oust Amedore. He said the incumbent hasn’t been as vocal on certain issues as some committee members expected and didn’t come to the local party’s aid in its time of need.

“George upset a lot of people,” he said. “He hasn’t really been doing anything for us.”

Like Barrie, Salamone said he would support a run by Parisi, who is serving out the year as an appointed Town Board member, the sole Republican on the board. But Salamone reiterated that the drive for a committee meeting was more focused on discussing potential candidates.

“We’re not saying this is done,” he said. “We’re saying we want to investigate whether there is a better candidate.”

Town Committee Chairman James Longo did not return a call for comment. It is unclear whether there are enough signatures yet to spur a special meeting of the committee.

Contacted Wednesday, Parisi admitted that he’s interested in a run for the Assembly, something that has been on his mind since party leaders initially approached him about the seat four years ago. If he does run for the seat, he said he would stump for term limits as a major campaign promise.

Parisi did not rule out a direct challege to Amedore, but a run for the Assembly might not entail one. He said there’s a chance Amedore could run against U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, whose seat is up for grabs in November, or for state Sen. Hugh Farley’s spot if the veteran legislator decides to retire.

“It may be an available seat,” he said of the 105th District.

Amedore said he plans to run for another term in office, even though he hasn’t announced his intentions yet. He said his focus now is on the state budget process, not the intricacies of seeking another term.

“There will be a time to campaign, but right now is not it,” he said.

Amedore disputed the notion that he didn’t help the Rotterdam Republicans at all during their 2009 campaign. He said he wasn’t deeply involved because he was never asked for help by the local chairmen.

“Never once did I receive any phone call from anyone,” he said.

Amedore’s endorsement will be subject to a decision by the party committees in both Montgomery and Schenectady counties. The Rotterdam Republicans are a sizeable faction of the Schenectady County party, which includes members from all of the committees in the outlying towns and the city.

Tom Buchanan, chairman of the Schenectady County Republican Committee, said a decision about Amedore’s endorsement will come before petitions are disseminated in June. Though aware of the petition drive in Rotterdam, he said there’s been no other indication that the county party wouldn’t endorse the incumbent.

“The town of Rotterdam can do what it wants,” he said. “But at the end of the day, the vote is held at the county level.”

Montgomery County’s Republican Committee isn’t expected to back away from Amedore either. Party Chairman Joseph Emanuele III said the county committee is pleased with the assemblyman’s performance and strongly supports his bid for re-election.

“Montgomery County has strongly supported George and his commitment to the 105th,” he said.

Categories: Schenectady County

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