CLIFTON PARK — Dale Kelley, a longtime Clifton Park resident who had planned to challenge incumbent Town Supervisor Phil Barrett in a fall primary, has suspended his campaign.
Kelley, who has lived in the town for almost four decades, sought to override the Clifton Park Republican Committee’s selection of Barrett, whom they endorsed unanimously in March. Barrett also won the endorsement of the Conservative and Independence parties. But on Friday, Kelley said that the main reason he decided to end his bid was due to lack of funding.
“I know I’m disappointing people and letting them down, but it’s a choice I have to make,” he said.
Kelley, a New Hampshire native, has held various town government posts. He was elected to the Clifton Park Town Board in 1989 and served as deputy supervisor from 1992 to 1995.
As of May 26, he said the money for his campaign was only “trickling in,” and that he was not confident he would be able to raise enough to “go up against the big guns,” of GOP establishment. He estimated he would have needed around $25,000 to $30,000 in order to facilitate a viable campaign. But Kelley, who just a few weeks ago said he was prepared to be the underdog in the race, said he’s now trying to be as realistic as possible.
“It’s a hard decision. It has been very difficult for me,” Kelley said, noting that the choice came after conversations with friends, family, and advisers.
“I’m just getting the sense that people are supportive, but they don’t want to open their wallets and their pocketbooks,” he added.
Despite the abrupt end to his campaign, he insisted he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Kelley, whose platform included developing a long-term spending plan for the town, increasing transparency and collaboration, and implementing term limits, said he continues to believe Clifton Park has room to grow.
He said he thinks that the town is in good shape overall but was missing some crucial opportunities for improvement. In the past, Kelley has described the town as “reactionary,” and, “penny-pinching,” opting to deal with issues as they come up as opposed to crafting a plan in advance.
“I certainly won’t be crawling under a rock,” he said.
He suggested Clifton Park residents stay vigilant and involved in town affairs.
“Don’t assume that everything is as rosy as it might seem,” he added.
Kelley affirmed there is no bad blood between Barrett and him, adding that he recently wished Barrett the best going forward. Barrett confirmed the conversation and said he expressed to Kelley that the town administration is always open to suggestions.
“If anybody has any ideas or ways to improve the town, we’re always eager to receive that input,” Barrett said.