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Sen. Tedisco barreling ahead in new district over protests from Sen. Jordan, leadership

Senator Jim Tedisco and Senator Daphne Jordan, left of center
Lucas Willard
Senator Jim Tedisco and Senator Daphne Jordan, left of center

New York State Senator Jim Tedisco is doubling down on his decision to run for re-election in the new 44th district.

Tedisco has been in the state Senate since 2017 after many years in the Assembly. He lives in the Schenectady County town of Glenville, which is in the newly drawn 46th district.

Senator Daphne Jordan, a Halfmoon resident who represents the current 43rd District, says after the final redistricting map drawn by a special master was finalized, she was “surprised and disappointed” to learn of a primary challenge from Tedisco, from the 49th.

"When the map came out, we were sitting in session together," Jordan said. "And we actually were very happy that we weren't pitted against each other because there was a map that had us pitted against each other. And that was a scenario that was not wanted. So I was very surprised that he, the next day, was working behind my back and behind his colleagues’ backs, making phone calls saying that he was going to primary me and move into Saratoga County."

Republican Senate Leader Rob Ortt says he supports Jordan’s re-election in the 44th and Tedisco in the 46th.

But Tedisco defends the move. He says he listens to the voters and points out the redrawn 44th includes the majority of his current district.

"And now I'm gonna run in that 60% of my district," Tedisco said. "It includes the city of Schenectady. It includes Niskayuna, and includes all of Saratoga County and the 12 towns I represent right now. That's 60% of my present district. So we're going through the endorsement process now. I just got the endorsement of two of the largest towns, Milton and Clifton Park, and all the rest have been very responsive and positive to me. I'm the strong voice out there in Saratoga and Schenectady. I've got a footprint there."

Former New York State Senator Kathy Marchione, who preceded Jordan, issued a statement critical of Tedisco's decision, saying he had asked her to stay neutral in the primary. She also criticized Tedisco sidestepping a run against long-time Democratic Senator Neil Breslin. Again, Jordan:

"And it shouldn't really be a problem for Jim," Jordan said. "I mean, you know, Jim has always put himself out there as the fighter. Now's the time for him to fight. And there are so many people. And, and, when you look at statistics, Jim Tedisco can beat Neil Breslin, he should be able to do that, especially because this is a new district for Neil Breslin as well. This is a district where Senator Breslin would have to drive 65 miles away and start meeting people. Jim knows a lot of those people. He's been out that way. And he's used to getting around. So Jim should have confidence that he can do this."

Tedisco says he already has the Conservative line. Schenectady County District 3 Legislator Michelle Ostrelich and former Schenectady mayoral candidate Thearse McCalmon will face off in the Democratic primary.

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.