Candidate Enters Race Creating Democratic Primary In County Legislative Special Election
On May 10th, Democrats in the City of Plattsburgh chose Clinton County Legislator Colin Read as their candidate to run for mayor. Read resigned his legislative seat, setting up a special election to fill the last year of the term. County Democrats selected their candidate last week, but the candidate who was not chosen has decided to force a primary.
Democrats have chosen retired State Police Investigator George Dyer to run against Republican Devi Momot for the Clinton County Area 4 legislative seat. Businessman and activist Simon Conroy had also sought the party’s endorsement.
Conroy announced Monday that he is running for the seat because he wants to give people the option to vote for him through a primary. “My main concern is that we want a candidate who has proven in the community that they're going to be an active representative. I'm interested in this position because I want people to have representatives who are working around in the community networking and getting things done. And once they're in office we're going beyond and looking for opportunities that we're missing.”
Conroy doesn’t believe a primary will split the Democrats. “We have a lot of support from within the party. We have a lot of support from people on the streets. People just want more choices on who to vote for. It doesn't really make sense to just present one candidate and expect everybody to accept that.”
Sara Rowden held the Area 4 seat for over a decade until term limits ended her tenure in 2013. She has been appointed to the seat until the special election is held. She seconded Conroy’s nomination during the Democratic committee meeting. “We should be embracing the fact in this community that we do have young people who are willing to run for these positions. They've got the energy. They’ve got the vision. It’s what I see in Simon. You know and they understand the need for our community to be vibrant. I do not know the gentleman that was nominated and I've been in the politics for a long time. But I just think Simon's got the right idea.”
Plattsburgh City Councilor Rachelle Armstrong is the city Democratic Chair. In her first campaign, she challenged an incumbent and won after being advised to approach a primary as practice for the general election. “I don't believe that that meant that Democrats needed to be opposed to one another. It meant rather that there was a vigorous debate, that there was a healthy competition for ideas and voters. So I celebrate the process.”
Clinton County Democratic Chair Marty Mannix says the 66 members of the county Democratic committee heard Dyer’s and Conroy’s presentations before voting. Dyer won by a nearly 3 to 1 margin. “He won an overwhelming victory. George just came across as a very solid individual: give me the information and I will make my decision and my decision will be in the best interest of my district and in the best interests of the county. But I also think a lot of people in that room knew him as a state trooper, from the farm. So those were I think the reasons the delegates were more supportive of George Dyer than they were of Simon Conroy.”
Whoever wins the September 13th primary faces Republican businesswoman Devi Momot. The winner of the general election must run again in a year for a full term.