The Saratoga County Republican Committee has endorsed retired sheriff’s investigator Michael Zurlo for county sheriff, but there is the possibility of a September party primary.
Jeff Gildersleeve of Ballston Lake, a retired state police investigator, said he plans to circulate petitions to force a Sept. 10 primary.
“Quite honestly, I think my experience eclipses that of any two other candidates,” he said Monday. “I have worked with local, county, state and federal agencies.”
Zurlo and Gildersleeve are both seeking the party nomination to replace Sheriff James D. Bowen, who is retiring this year after 41 years in office. The position pays $113,305 annually, and the election is for a four-year term.
Zurlo, 59, of Stillwater, served 32 years with the Sheriff’s Department, retiring in 2010. His positions included road patrol deputy, sergeant, lieutenant, investigator and senior investigator. After retirement, he was elected a Stillwater town justice, although he resigned that position this spring to run for sheriff.
Gildersleeve, 56, is a former Marine and spent 26 years with the state police, including time as a senior investigator overseeing drug teams. More recently, he has worked on drug investigations and tactical training for the Warren County Sheriff’s Department.
Gildersleeve was endorsed by Republican committees in Saratoga Springs, Ballston and Charlton, but overall about 70 percent of the county committee favored Zurlo, said county Republican Chairman John Herrick.
“His support was overwhelming,” Herrick said. “He had 32 years with the department, and he has knowledge of the road patrol, communications and the correctional facility. He’s very familiar with the internal workings of the department.”
The county Democratic and Conservative parties have endorsed Phil Lindsey, a former Glens Falls police officer, for sheriff. Republicans, however, have a significant countywide voter enrollment advantage.
The GOP committee endorsements took place Saturday, in preparation for a petition signature period that starts today. Candidates must file nominating petitions between July 8-11.
The county committee also endorsed Susan Hayes-Masa for county coroner. She would run to replace John DeMartino, who died last week.
“I hated the timing, but we had to do it,” Herrick said.
Hayes-Masa is currently a deputy coroner, and has completed the basic medical examiner/coroner course. If elected, she would join Tom Salvadore as one of two county coroners.
The county Republicans also made several anticipated and uncontested endorsements:
* They backed Halfmoon Town Board member Craig Hayner for county clerk. There is a special election for clerk this year, following former County Clerk Kathy Marchione’s election to the state Senate last year.
* District Attorney James A. Murphy III was endorsed for re-election to a fifth term.
* The committee endorsed state Supreme Court Justice Thomas Nolan of Saratoga County for re-election, and endorsed Stan Pritzker of Washington County for an opening on state Supreme Court.