Supervisor Frank Del Gallo is making good on his pledge to run for re-election and he’s bringing his own slate of candidates along for the ride.
Next month, Del Gallo plans to canvass for the 553 signatures needed to establish the Rotterdam First party. His effort comes after the Democrats under town committee Chairman Tony Jasenski spurned the incumbent in favor of former Schenectady County Sheriff Harry Buffardi in April.
Del Gallo approached the Independence and Conservative parties for endorsements, but was shunned by both. Now he’s taking his message to the streets in an effort to collect enough signatures to get on the ballot.
“We’re going to get an army out there and get it done,” he said this week.
Joining Del Gallo on the prospective Rotterdam First ticket are Town Board candidates Dolores Doriguzzi and William Cooke, the former town Democratic Committee chairman. Jim Bradshaw will challenge incumbent Town Justice Kevin Mercoglan, while Larry Lamora will challenge longtime Republican Highway Superintendent Jim Longo.
Del Gallo, a Conservative who switched his enrollment to Democrat in December, also intends to wage a primary effort against candidates endorsed by both the major and minor parties. And he’s confident that he’ll be able to gather a large enough war chest through fund raising to launch such an aggressive campaign.
“I’m going to run a primary on all of them,” he said.
Del Gallo’s political schism comes less than two years after one in the Republican Party that some credit for getting him elected. Some Republicans fault Conservative Brian McGarry for siphoning votes from then-incumbent Supervisor Steve Tommasone and allowing Del Gallo to narrowly edge him out in 2009.
Del Gallo managed 3,460 votes on the Democratic and Conservative tickets to beat Tommasone, who secured 3,256 votes on the Republican, Independence and Working Families lines. Meanwhile, McGarry garnered 1,451 votes on his independent party line.
Rotterdam Democratic Committee Chairman Tony Jasenski doesn’t see Del Gallo’s independent line detracting from Buffardi or other candidates endorsed by the major party. He said the party was resolute in wanting to move Del Gallo off the ticket and believes his entering the race won’t be much of a factor.
Along with Buffardi, the Democrats endorsed incumbent Wayne Calder and Mike Viscusi for Town Board, former Schenectady County Department of Public Works supervisor Vincent Romano for highway superintendent and Mercoglan for town justice.
“This is about good government,” he said of the party’s choices. “We’re confident in our slate.”
The GOP is supporting McGarry for supervisor, Longo for highway superintendent and Mercoglan for town justice. On Monday, the party named Joe Villano and Chris Tomaselli as their candidates for the two board seats.
Del Gallo said he’ll run on his record of accomplishment during his short tenure in office. He said his administration has gotten more done in the town in a year and a half than other administrations had done in the past decade.
“We’re trying to get the town moving,” he said.
Del Gallo also blasted the Democrats for serving the interests of the party and not town residents. He said his relationship with the party started to sour when he refused their suggestion that he support a taxpayer subsidy to the Rotterdam Emergency Medical Inc., the town’s not-for-profit ambulance service.
“I was too busy trying to take the town forward while they were trying to knock me out of the box,” said. “But I’m not a quitter like some of them are.”