Gary McCarthy to formally launch fourth-term Schenectady mayoral bid (with updates)

Man speaks at event with people holding Gary McCarthy Mayor signs behind him
Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy announces his campaign for re-election Tuesday.
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SCHENECTADY — Gary McCarthy is expected to formally announce his third re-election bid for Schenectady mayor on Tuesday.

Should he overcome a primary challenge from City Council President Marion Porterfield in June and a general election challenge from Republican Matt Nelligan in November, McCarthy will join a sparse list of four-term mayors spanning 225 of years of Electric City history.

Updates from Tuesday’s announcement:

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The announcement at Blue Ribbon diner on State Street early this week follows months of the Democrat publicly expressing interest in another term. The 66-year-old has been teasing a formal campaign launch celebration since December.

He told The Daily Gazette about the kick-off event on Monday, but declined to specify further.

“It’s always good to keep the press in suspense a little bit,” McCarthy said Sunday, hinting at a formal announcement ahead. “It’ll be sometime soon, sometime this week.”

Nelligan announced his bid in late December.

Porterfield launched her campaign on Feb. 17 at Great Flats Brewing in the presence of family, friends and progressive politicians such as city Councilman Damonni Farley, Schenectady County Legislator Michelle Ostrelich and 2nd Ward Albany Councilman Derek Johnson.

“I’m not driving a schedule based on what she’s doing or not,” McCarthy said of Porterfield on Sunday. “That’s the difference between leadership and following.”

In office, McCarthy deems himself the best fit to continue the city’s economic development and neighborhood revitalization efforts. The deadpan city leader has frequently discussed efforts to change negative perceptions of the city since entering the office in 2011.

Councilwoman Carmel Patrick has credited McCarthy with building up downtown in order to “go back into the neighborhoods to do the work that we’ve been doing as it relates to housing, affordable housing and some of the other programs that we’ve put in place.” Patrick and Councilwoman Doreen Ditoro plan to campaign alongside McCarthy this season.

Critics, including former primary contender Thearse McCalmon, have assailed McCarthy as a downtown-focused politician. The former contender narrowly lost the Democratic primary in 2019.

This year’s party-endorsed mayoral candidate hasn’t had a neck-and-neck general election fight since vying for the seat against Alliance Party founder Roger Hull in 2011. McCarthy first landed the role in an interim capacity following Brian U. Stratton’s exit months earlier.

McCarthy, a former councilman, first ran for mayor and lost by 2,000 votes against Al Jurczynski in 1999. The Republican leader earlier this year characterized McCarthy as politically shrewd, but deficient in making voters feel “warm and fuzzy.”

In 1981, McCarthy started his career as an investigator for the Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office. Within a five-year span late that decade, the now-mayor had risen from an appointed member of Schenectady Municipal Housing Authority to chairman of the Schenectady County Democratic Committee.

Tyler A. McNeil can be reached at 518-395-3047 or [email protected]. Follow him on Facebook at Tyler A. McNeil, Daily Gazette or Twitter @TylerAMcNeil.

Categories: -News-, News, Schenectady, Schenectady County

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