Five contested state Assembly seats

118th District race most controversial of any local Assembly race
Keith Rubino (top) and Robert Smullen are vying for the 118th District seat.
Keith Rubino (top) and Robert Smullen are vying for the 118th District seat.

CAPITAL REGION — Five of the six Assembly seats representing parts of the Capital Region are being contested this year.

Only 112th District Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh, R-Ballston, can rest easy on Nov. 6, knowing she will win a second term, because she has no opposition. Other than that, incumbents have challengers, and two people are vying for the open 118th District seat, from which Marc Butler, of Newport, is retiring.

The 118th District race has generated the most controversy of any local Assembly race, with Republican candidate Robert Smullen, of Johnstown, facing a criminal charge, for claiming primary-residence-only veterans’ tax exemptions on two homes: one in Niskayuna and the other in Johnstown.

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Smullen, a career Marine veteran and former executive director of the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District, has apologized but still faces court action. His Democratic opponent is Keith Rubino, a 29-year-old mental health care professional and disabilities services advocate from Herkimer.

The men have sparred, though they agree on the issue that angers so many in rural upstate: Both have called for repeal of the SAFE Act gun control law, something that won’t happen unless Democrats somehow lose control of both legislative chambers. The 118th District covers the southern Adirondacks, including Fulton County.

NewsMorgan Zegers, top, is challenging incumbent Carrie Woerner (bottom) for the 113th Assembly District seat. (Kathryn Hume (map); Photos provided)

Another race of note is in the 113th Assembly District in Saratoga and Washington counties, where a 21-year-old Republican, Morgan Zegers, of Malta, is challenging two-term incumbent Carrie Woerner, a Democrat from Round Lake.

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While Zegers, a recent college graduate, says she can bring change to Albany, Woerner has cited her experience and ability to be an effective advocate for the largely rural and agricultural district (which also includes the GlobalFoundries computer chip plant) as part of the Assembly majority.

NewsAngelo Santabarbara is being challenged by Brian McGarry (bottom) for the 111th Assembly District seat. (Kathryn Hume (map); Photos provided)

In the 111th District, which includes Montgomery County and part of Schenectady County, Democrat Angelo Santabarbara, of Rotterdam, who has staked out a public profile as a disabled rights advocate, is being challenged by Republican Brian McGarry, of Rotterdam, who sees himself as a small-government conservative.

In the 110th, which includes Colonie, Niskayuna and part of Schenectady, incumbent Democrat Phil Steck, of Colonie, an attorney, is being challenged by Republican Christopher Carey, a member of the Colonie Town Board and retired Colonie police detective.

NewsMaps of Assembly Districts 102 and 110. (Kathryn Hume)

In the 102nd District, which includes Schoharie, Greene, and parts of three other counties, Democrat Aiden O’Connor Jr., of East Durham, is running against incumbent Chris Tague, of Schoharie. Tague is running for his first full two-year term, after winning a special election last spring to the seat formerly held by Pete Lopez, who was appointed regional director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Tague is a former Schoharie town supervisor and retired manager of a local gravel company. O’Connor, whom he also defeated in the April special election, is a professional paramedic and member of the Greene County Legislature. While Tague has portrayed himself as aggrieved by downstate Democrat control of the Assembly, O’Connor has criticized Tague’s ties to the local business establishment and political practices in Albany.

Given long-established voting patterns, regardless of how local candidates fair, the one certainty after Election Day is that the Democrats will still be in control of the Assembly.

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