Jeff Stark drops out of state Senate race

Stark endorses Michelle Hinchey for Senate seat

46th STATE SENATE DISTRICT — An Amsterdam Democrat has dropped out of the race for the 46th State Senate District.

Jeff Stark issued a statement Tuesday suspending his campaign, which was already underway before incumbent state Sen. George A. Amedore’s surprise announcement in late November he would not seek re-election to his position in the district.

Amedore is a Republican from Rotterdam.

Stark said he will support Michelle Hinchey of Saugerties, the daughter of the late U.S. representative Maurice Hinchey, for whom Stark once campaigned.

“I believe Michelle Hinchey has been a great role model and will do her best to represent the 46th Senate District with the same vigor” as her father, he said.

The remaining candidates in the race for the Democratic nomination are Hickey, who said last week her campaign has already raised more than $100,000, and child victim advocate Gary Greenberg of New Baltimore.

In leaving the race, Stark repeated a platform that generally falls to the right of where most Senate Democrats stand, including a re-evaluation of the recent bail reform and criminal justice evidenciary rule changes, “using a common-sense approach which is fair to all people, but still protects our overwhelmingly law-abiding citizens to keep our children and our children’s children safe.”

In an interview, Stark identified himself as “definitely at the more conservative end of the Democrats,” and said he is ending his campaign because he is concerned about splitting the party, as well as that his positions might be too conservative for parts of the district.

“There’s name recognition, and [Hinchey] got out there way back in June, and honestly, I’m not progressive enough for some of the Democrats in the downstate counties like Ulster and Greene,” Stark said.

Stark is a regional representative for the painters’ union and until recently headed the Greater Capital Region Building and Construction Trades Council. He is also a former Montgomery County supervisor, representing Amsterdam when the county had a board of supervisors.

“Although I am suspending my campaign, I remain passionate for my lifelong career of advocating for fairness and equity,” he said. “My decision to suspend my quest for this elected office is a painful one, but in doing so it will allow our state to move forward and hopefully set a new direction.”

The 46th Senate District includes all of Montgomery and Greene counties and parts of Albany, Schenectady, and Ulster counties. The district has 68,478 active enrolled Democrats, 52,443 active enrolled Republicans, and 50,808 active voters not enrolled in a party.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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