Jim Fischer of Ballston plans to challenge Mary Beth Walsh in a primary for the Republican nomination to run for the open seat representing the 112th Assembly District, he said Monday.
Fischer, who was the Republican candidate for Congress against U.S. Rep Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, in 2014, said he plans to run in Republican and Conservative primaries.
Fischer said he is more conservative than Walsh, who has been endorsed by the Saratoga County Republican Committee and also the county’s Independence Party. Fischer received support from 45 percent of the Republican Committee members during the initial ballot, he noted.
“It’s always a challenge to run against the endorsed candidate, but I believe I have significant name recognition from two years ago,” said Fischer, the owner of a wireless communications equipment company in Latham.
The 112th Assembly District seat is coming open because veteran Assemblyman James Tedisco, R-Glenville, is running for the state Senate this fall. He wants to replace the retiring Sen. Hugh T. Farley, R-Niskayuna.
“I will not compromise the values that Republicans and Conservatives believe in,” Fischer said in an announcement on Monday. “I will fight, and I will stand up against the overreaching Albany legislative machine that has encroached on every area of our lives, and made New York among the worst places to create jobs or grow a business.”
In response, Walsh noted that she and Fischer contested for the Republican party’s endorsement, and the county committee chose her.
“It’s certainly his right to a primary,” she said. “I’m looking forward to an active campaign season.”
Walsh said she is also conservative on the issues, including opposition to the SAFE Act gun control law and Common Core education standards.
Walsh is an attorney and former member of the Ballston Town Board. Her husband, James Walsh, is also an attorney, known for representing Republicans in election law cases.
Fischer said the Walshes are too close with Republican leaders in Albany.
“In 2016, people are making it clear that they want to put an end to that. They want fresh voices and real change in Albany as well as in Washington. That’s what I vow to bring if I’m elected.”
Fischer served on the Ballston Planning Board and is an elder at East Glenville Community Church. He and his wife, Katie, have three children. Fischer is originally from Niskayuna and has lived in the town of Ballston for 19 years.
A Walsh campaign statement on Monday said she has been endorsed by Tedisco, Farley, and state Sen. Kathy Marchione, R-Halfmoon.
Fischer will need to collect at least 500 valid voter signatures in order to force a primary. Whoever wins what would be a Sept. 13 primary will then run in the November general election.
On Sunday, Democrat Michael Godlewski announced his candidacy for the seat, meaning there will be a contest in November.
The assembly district, in which Republicans have a significant enrollment advantage, includes the town of Glenville in Schenectady County, and the Saratoga County towns of Halfmoon, Clifton Park, Ballston, Charlton, Galway, Milton, Providence and Greenfield.
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