51st STATE SENATE DISTRICT -- Assemblyman Chris Tague of Schoharie won't pursue a run for the state Senate seat being vacated by the retirement of Sen. James Seward of Oneonta.
"After much consideration and reflection with my wife, family and close friends, I have decided not to pursue a run for the state Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Jim Seward," Tague said. "I am incredibly honored and humbled to have been approached and encouraged by so many respected members of our region to consider succeeding a legend like Sen. Seward."
With Tague's decision, the only announced Republican candidate to succeed Seward is Pete Oberacker of Schenevus, who is a member of the Otsego County Board of Representatives and former supervisor of the town of Maryland, which includes Schenevus. He has contacted the GOP leaders in all nine counties in the district, and they are expected to meet at some point to agree on a candidate.
"It was pretty much all our intents that if Chris decided to run, we would have supported him," said Vince Canale, the Otsego County Republican chairman.
While the nomination still must play out, Canale said he could support Oberacker. "I'm certainly comfortable with Peter if he became the candidate," he said. "I think he would be a great representative, but he has big shoes to fill."
Seward, who has served in the Senate for 34 years, announced last week that he would not seek re-election as he continues to undergo treatment for cancer.
Tague and Seward are both Republicans, and frequently appear at the same events. On Thursday, Feb. 6, they will jointly host a public meeting in Schoharie to discuss public concerns about traffic safety along state Route 30.
Tague portrayed his decision as one of loyalty to the people who elected him to the Assembly. The 102nd Assembly District includes all of Schoharie and Greene counties, parts of Albany, Otsego and Delaware counties, and the town of Saugerties in Ulster County.
"I have an obligation to my neighbors to finish working on the many projects currently in motion," Tague said. "I could not walk away from [Minority Leader Will] Barclay and the Assembly Republican conference; their support has never wavered and I will forever be thankful."
The 51st Senate District, on the other hand, has Schoharie County as its eastern boundary, and stretches west to Cortland, including parts of Schoharie, Otsego and Cortland counties, and parts of Herkimer, Tompkins, Chenango, Cayuga, Delaware and Ulster counties. Republicans have a significant voter enrollment advantage in the district.
Oberacker, 53, grew up in Schenevus, working in a family sausage business, and went on to graduate from SUNY-Delhi and work in food product research, development and implementation, according to a short campaign handout distributed to Republican leaders. He created a company called Form Tech Solutions in 2007, and moved its international headquarters from Texas to Schenevus in 2017. "He's known for continually using his business experience to create new and creative ways to make budgets work," the handout states.
Democrat Jim Barber of Middleburgh is the only other announced candidate so far in the 51st Senate District race.