Candidates for several Albany County Legislature district seats are vying in Tuesday's Democratic primary.
With over a dozen primary races, some of the more prominent races on the largest county legislature in the state include the battle for District 1 that pits legislator Lucille McKnight against three hopefuls: former Albany Common Council President and mayoral candidate Carolyn McLaughlin and Carmen Rau and Ira Bethea. McKnight isn't worried. "I do such a wonderful job and I tend to make this job look easy even though it just really stresses me out and it kills me trying to work with all these men, but, I tend to bring 'em around and they understand and we get the job done. I'm not intimidated by three opponents. I come from a family of 12 so I'm used to dealing and competing in large numbers."
McLaughlin, who has been doing volunteer work after leaving the council in 2017, says working with seniors inspired her to vie for a seat on the legislature, and believes she'll take the primary. "I feel very good about my chances. I've done the work. I've done the work to win.”
District 8's Lynne Lekakis says she's ready to face challenger Brian Scavo. "I believe that my record is a lot stronger than his. I have accomplished quite a few things during my first stint and I'm eager to continue some of the projects that I've started in a second term. I'm looking forward to getting re-elected.”
Lekakis has supported environmental issues including the county’s styrofoam ban and the plastic bag ban.
Scavo served one term as 7th district legislator but lost a 2011 reelection bid and in 2015 was convicted of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument. "Well I created laws to protect our animals, like the Animal Abuse Registry. With Reverend Charlie, the Gun Buyback program. And I defeated major property tax increases and the 1 percent sales tax increase that [Albany County Executive Dan] McCoy wanted to put against Albany County. I created the toughest law against cyberbullying in upstate New York."
The sitting legislator in the 36th district, Republican Richard Mendick, is not seeking re-election. Democrats Marc Gronich and Matt Miller are facing off, as are Republicans Dave Harrington and Colin Dwyer.
Here's Gronich: "I'm not the endorsed candidate of the party. This is my first foray into elected office. It looks like out of 2100 Democrats maybe only 300, 350 will show up. We need to increase the base, there's a lot of new people who've moved into the district with all the development that's been going on. You know there's gotta be a lot of outreach and I don't see the party officials actually doing it."
The big question: will the June 25th primary date affect voter turnout? Democratic Board of Elections Commissioner Matt Clyne tells WAMC he's not expecting any unusual turn of events because he doesn't see anything that indicates people will be compelled to show up at the polls come Tuesday. He added he would be surprised if turnout was higher than 30 percent. McKnight spoke on behalf of all candidates: "Our people are slow to come out and then to change this date up to an earlier time. But we've got the tough stuff. We worked to campaign and got signatures in the ice and the snow. And that was tough, going out door to door and asking people to open up their door when it's cold and rainy or snowing or sleeting. That was tough in February and March. We're hoping it's gonna be a good summer. We'll see if we can get a good vote turnout."
District 1: Carolyn McLaughlin, Lucille McKnight, Carmen Rau, Ira Bethea
District 3: Wanda Willingham, Jaimz Edwards
District 4: Norma Chapman, Clifton Dixon
District 6: Samuel Fein, James Bouldin Jr.
District 7: Douglas Bullock, Beroro Efekoro
District 8: Lynne Lekakis, Brian Scavo
District 10: Gary Domalewicz, William Harrington
District 14: Alison McLean Lane, Daniela Weiss
District 17: John Frainier, Bill L. Ricard
District 30: Dustin Reidy, Steve Wickham
District 32: Michael Cleary, Paul Miller
District 34: Joanne Cunningham, George Harder
District 35: Jeffrey Kuhn, Sean Raleigh
District 36: (D) Matthew J. Miller, Marc Gronich
(R) Dave Barrington, Colin Dwyer