It's official. Capital Region Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, first elected in 1982, is joining the race for retiring Republican Senator Hugh Farley's 49th District seat.
Farley, who has served for four decades, announced his retirement at the end of his 20th term to spend more time with his ailing wife and family.
Tedisco, joined by several Assembly and Senate colleagues, local officials and a crowd of supporters, said he came to the decision to run after meeting with Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan.
"I wasn't going to go over to the Senate and have to sit there and try to have somebody tell me how to vote. Jim Tedisco's never been that, and I never will be that. So I had to have that conversation with the majoirty leader so he understood," said Tedisco.
Tedisco, whose current district includes portions of Schenectady and Saratoga Counties, said he's already begun conversations with party leaders in the 49th district, which stretches across Hamilton, Herkimer, Fulton, Saratoga, and Schenectady Counties.
The event Thursday featured a video reel of some of Tedisco's accomplishments as a vocal minority member, including one clip in which he questioned former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver at his own press conference over tax relief.
Republicans traditionally have had little power in the Democrat-dominated Assembly, but over the years Tedisco has built a reputation as the rare minority member to get bills to the floor.
"It's always the character, content, and quality of your idea. It'll always rise to the top. You may not have the votes, but I've gotten bills passed. I should have never gotten Buster's Law passed; I'm outnumbered two to one. Proposition 2? I'm outnumbered two to one. Property tax cap? I'm outnumbered two to one."
Tedisco is joining an already crowded field and is now the third declared Republican candidate in the race for the 49th.
Despite Tedisco's name recognition, Northville attorney Nancy Nugent says she is ready for a battle for September's primary vote.
'I'm fully prepared to move forward in the primary. I think my very diverse background speaks very well to the residents of the 49th District, which is a huge district, and one I travel both North, South, East and West regularly through," said Nugent.
Northville real estate appraiser Christian Klueg, also fighting for the Republican nomination, says he doesn't see much of a difference between Farley and Tedisco. He says voters want a change.
"I was running against a 40-year career politician last week. This week I'm running against a 34-year career politicians. The difference is six years. I think that they were both as equally well known, and I think the voters will decide in December who they want in the 49th Senate District," said Klueg.
Democrat Chad Putman, a Deputy City Clerk in Schenectady, is also in the running.