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Primary Day: Parties Choosing Candidates

WAMC Composite Photo by Dave Lucas

It’s the final few hours of voting as today’s primary elections will winnow the field for November.

Troy Democrats will pick a candidate for mayor. Ernest Everett and Rodney Wiltshire are on the ballot, along with party pick Patrick Madden. Incumbent Democratic Mayor Lou Rosamilia is not seeking re-election.

Cohoes Democrats will choose a candidate for mayor between common council member Dianne Nolin and 3rd term Albany County Legislator Shawn Morse, chair of the legislature. Current mayor George Primeau, Morse’s uncle, is not seeking re-election.

The race that has generated the most interest, and perhaps the most vitriol, is the Albany County Democratic primary pitting incumbent County Executive Dan McCoy against former Albany School Board member Dan Egan.

Egan carries what some regard as a "weighty" endorsement from party star Zephyr Teachout. "I think it's important to give somebody else a chance. Somebody who's shown that they are a traditional Democrat, fighting for traditional democratic values."

Egan threw down the gauntlet in March when announcing his candidacy:  "I was an infantry patroon leader in the army National Guard. I served for six years on the Albany School Board. I've worked all over New York State with food pantries and food banks. I helped start a gleaning program, one of the first in New York State, to bring farm fresh food from New York farms to food pantries across New York State. I spent 27 years in the Department of Health, managing projects from computer network installations to software development to lab nodes. I've also renovated houses and loaded tractor-trailers. I've jumped out of perfectly good airplanes, snaked out the sewer when I was a kid. Real good practice for this job comin' up."

McCoy is a former city firefighter, first elected in 2011, after a 12-year stint as a county legislator. He's confident going into the primary, which is key because of Democrats’ overwhelming enrollment edge. McCoy minimized the threat from Egan in this remark to Time Warner Cable News: "Maybe he should go be Donald Trump's Vice President."

McCoy has the endorsements of more powerful Democrats: U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman Paul Tonko and Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan.  "He and I are working together on a number of initiatives to try to reduce costs, to try to work together to avoid duplicating services. We've been working very closely on the oil trains issue, on housing homeless veterans, and I look forward to continuing to work with him."

The winner will go against Republican Joseph Vitolo and Green Party hopeful Dan Plaat in the November general election.

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple is running unopposed.  Back in January, Rensselaer County Sheriff Jack Mahar opted not to run for a fourth term.  County Republicans are choosing between Scott Ryan "It's gonna be a team concept when I go in there" and Pat Russo "I think I'm ready for the job" to fill the post.

Saratoga Springs Democrats will pick between incumbent Chris Mathieson or former city attorney Sarah Burger for public safety commissioner.

In other primary action, Democratic Kingston Mayor Shayne Gallo is being challenged by Steve Noble.

Poughkeepsie is holding Republican and Democratic primaries with six candidates in the mix to replace term-limited incumbent Republican Mayor John Tkazyik.

Other local races are being conducted in  Bethlehem, Cairo, East Greenbush, Greenport, Guilderland, Hudson, Kinderhook, Mt. Vernon, New Baltimore, New Lebanon, Rome, Stuyvesant, Utica and Windham.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is hosting a statewide Election Day Hotline. Voters encountering barriers to access at their polling places should call 800-771-7755, or email civil.rights@ag.ny.gov.  The hotline is available through the 9 p.m poll closing time.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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