HALFMOON — State Sen. Daphne Jordan, R-Halfmoon, bowed out of her Senate re-election bid Tuesday with a blistering criticism of Sen. James Tedisco, R-Glenville, who had forced a primary battle for a redrawn district in which he does not live.
She said Tedisco’s decision to run in the new 44th Senate District rather than run in the new 46th, where he lives, will guarantee a Democrat victory in the 46th.
Sen. Neil Breslin, D-Albany, is running for re-election in the 46th, and its new lines will favor a Democratic candidate.
Jordan said her name will appear on the Republican and Conservative primary ballots in the race for the 44th District, as per state Election Law, but she will not actively campaign in those races or contest them.
“I detest the circus atmosphere that Jim Tedisco has caused by moving into my Senate District and his putting self-interest first in seeking a seat from a fellow Republican whom he once called a friend,” she said in a prepared statement Tuesday morning. “I want no part of this sideshow. I’m not going to play a political game that would be destructive, divisive, and undermine the principles that I care deeply about.”
Tedisco responded magnanimously.
“I want to thank Senator Daphne Jordan so much for her dedicated public service. Senator Jordan and I have similar philosophies that the role of government should be to remove obstacles for people so they can be everything they can be with the God-given talents they’ve been given and then it should get out of the way!” he said in a prepared statement.
“This was never personal for me, it was about providing the highest level of constituent service and being a strong voice for the people of Saratoga and Schenectady counties where my heart has always been home and where I currently represent 60 percent of residents and have represented 79 percent of residents at some point over the years. I know the people of Saratoga and Schenectady Counties well and they know me. I understand their concerns and I’ll stand up and fight for them as I’ve always done.”
The state constitution allows a candidate to run for election in a Senate district while not living there in a redistricting year, but not in subsequent elections. Tedisco’s office said he intends to move into the new 44th District.
On the Democratic side of the 44th Senate District ballot, there has been a more friendly narrowing of the field. Thearse McCalmon of Schenectady suspended her campaign and endorsed Michelle Ostrelich of Niskayuna in a joint appearance earlier this month.
Tedisco soundly defeated McCalmon in 2020 and Ostrelich in 2018 for the 49th Senate District, which has a much larger percentage of Republicans than the 44th Senate District where he and Ostrelich, a Schenectady County legislator, will face off.
Jordan is a lawyer by training who started and ran two businesses. She was a Halfmoon Town Board member and was closely involved in running the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library before being elected to the state Senate in 2018, replacing the retiring Kathy Marchione, also a Halfmoon Republican.
In her statement Tuesday, Jordan pointedly said she would be working to help certain Republicans campaign in areas she now represents, even as she gave up her own bid.
“My goal is to help my Senate Republican colleagues — trusted colleagues — gain seats in the New York state Senate,” she said. “I plan to help my colleagues that are running in areas currently in my district.”
She said she’d serve out her term and look forward to the next chapter.
In between shots at Tedisco and the political structure that lined up behind him, Jordan emphasized that no one twisted her arm to quit the race.
“Everyone that knows me knows that I am, and always have been, a hard worker and a team player,” she said. “I want to be perfectly clear: My not moving forward for the primaries was my decision and mine alone. I was not prompted by anyone except my family.”
The new 44th Senate District will consist of all of Saratoga County plus the city of Schenectady and town of Niskayuna in Schenectady County.
The new 46th Senate District, where Tedisco lives and where Jordan wanted him to run, will consist of all of Montgomery County and most of Albany and Schenectady counties. It also is home to Breslin, who was first elected to the Senate in 1996 and has never had a close bid for re-election. Considering voter registration totals in the new district, Tedisco has been a member of the Legislature even longer but would have had a difficult campaign had he run against Breslin.
Richard Amedure, a Rensselaerville Republican, has declared his candidacy for the 46th against Breslin. Amedure ran a strong campaign against Saugerties Democrat Michelle Hinchey in 2020, for the 46th, capturing 48.6% of the vote. But the 46th was a more rural, more Republican district in the 2020 race, and it was an open seat, not one held by a 25-year incumbent.
Ostrelich said Tuesday she is looking forward to campaigning against Tedisco in the new 44th district.
In 2018, he garnered 59.3% of the vote to her 40.7%.
In the 2022 race, Tedisco will retain the name recognition built by a life in elected office but Ostrelich will gain a more favorable ratio of registered Democrats to Republicans among those eligible to vote in the redrawn 44th.
“I am running for the New York state Senate because the people of the newly drawn 44th District are ready for change,” Ostrelich said in a prepared statement. “They want the kind of representation they can be proud of, the kind of representation that reflects their values, the kind of representation that respects the diversity that is this district. … Saratoga and Schenectady counties are now Democratic majorities. Our campaign is ready. And I look forward to November.”