Saratoga County

GOP units abandon McDonald; Senate run faces challenge

State Sen. Roy McDonald is likely to face a Republican primary challenge this year and his party sup

State Sen. Roy McDonald is likely to face a Republican primary challenge this year and his party support in Saratoga County has had some losses in recent days.

The challenge to McDonald in the 43rd Senate District will probably come from freshman Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, R-Melrose. McLaughlin is “strongly considering a run,” according to his spokesman.

Both candidates made appeals to the Wilton Republican Committee, which voted after a lengthy deliberation Tuesday night to support McLaughlin. He received 55 percent of the committee’s weighted vote, said Committee Chairman Scott Kingsley, who supports McDonald.

In their remarks, McDonald touted his long legislative history, which included serving as Wilton supervisor, and McLaughlin highlighted their differences on social issues, specifically attacking McDonald for his vote in favor of same-sex marriage last summer.

Wilton is not currently part of the 43rd Senate District, but has been added in proposed legislative lines.

The town’s Republican voters may not necessarily follow the committee’s lead in rejecting McDonald. Following the Wilton Republican Committee’s 2011 endorsements, an endorsed Town Board candidate got trounced in a primary election by a non-endorsed candidate.

Kingsley said this endorsement suggests there will be a primary battle for the Republican nomination, which might be a good development. “However, the one thing I do worry about is that the campaign needs to be more than just about gay marriage,” he said.

McLaughlin spokesman Ken Giradin said the contrast between the two candidates isn’t just about same-sex marriage; there are stark fiscal differences too. “Steve pledged to not raise taxes and so did Roy, but Roy broke his pledge,” Giradin said in reference to the tax package vote at the end of 2011.

In a statement on the Wilton decision, McDonald said: “While it’s disappointing not to receive the endorsement of the Wilton Republican Committee, I’m very pleased to have gained the unanimous support of the Stillwater Republican Committee.”

McDonald spokesman Michael Veitch added that the senator has had many positive conversations with town committees about a possible endorsement.

This will not include the Halfmoon Republican Committee, which voted unanimously on Tuesday not to support McDonald in 2012. Committee Chairwoman Regina Parker said neither McDonald or McLaughlin talked to the committee, but members were motivated to act because of McDonald’s stance on a number of issues.

Additionally, the Malta Republican Committee voted not to support McDonald, according to Giradin. Malta is currently in the 43rd Senate District, but proposed redistricting would put the town in the district of Sen. Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna, for 2012.

Giradin added that there are other town committees that will likely support McLaughlin.

The Saratoga County Republican Committee was initially scheduled to vote its support of a candidate this weekend, but the vote was delayed because the district lines have not been set. Committee Chair Jasper Nolan, who supports McDonald, said he hopes the final lines will be adopted so they can move along with their endorsement process.

McDonald is likely to have a much harder time securing the Conservative Party endorsement in 2012, as the Conservatives have attacked him for his vote on same-sex marriage. Party spokeswoman Shaun Marie said of McLaughlin: “I think he is an excellent candidate.”

As proposed, the 43rd district includes parts of Washington, Saratoga, Rensselaer and Columbia counties.

Categories: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply