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Democratic candidate list shrinks

2009-01-31T00:00:00Z Democratic candidate list shrinksMAURY THOMPSON
Glens Falls Post-Star
January 31, 2009 12:00 am  • 

County Democratic chairmen expect to select a candidate on Sunday for the special election in the 20th Congressional District, having narrowed their focus to six candidates, said Warren County Democratic Chairman William Montfort.

"They're the six finalists, so to speak, in the beauty contest," he said.

The winner will go up against state Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco, R-Schenectady, and possibly a Libertarian candidate, to fill the seat that was vacated when Kirsten Gillibrand, D-Greenport, was appointed to the U.S. Senate.

The 10-county district stretches from Dutchess County north to Lake Placid.

The Democratic finalists are as follows:

- Suzy Ballantyne, politcal director for the state AFL-CIO;

- Tracy Egan of Ballston Spa, former television news anchor;

- State Assemblyman Tim Gordon, who lives in Slingerlands and is registered in the Independence party;

- Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner Ron Kim;

- Scott Murphy of Glens Falls, president of a venture capital firm;

- Carol Schrager, a lawyer from Greene County.

The six finalists were selected from more than two dozen potential candidates whom Democratic county chairs interviewed via conference calls over the past week, Montfort said.

Democratic chairmen will meet Sunday at an undisclosed location to interview the six and hopefully select a candidate at the end of the meeting, said Essex County Democratic Chairwoman Sue Montgomery Corey.

In the meantime, Tedisco isn't waiting to find out who his Democratic opponent will be to start campaigning.

His campaign will host a "Women for Tedisco" rally at noon today at the Saratoga Springs Public Library.

Tedisco will discuss his support for initiatives to assist female business owners, said John Fitzpatrick, a spokesman for the Tedisco campaign.

Because it is a special election, there will be no primary.

The 20th Congressional District executive committees of each political party select a candidate to run on respective party lines.

Candidates may also run as independents by filing nominating petitions with at least 3,500 signatures within 12 days of when Gov. David Paterson schedules the special election.

State Libertarian Chairman Eric Sundwall said Friday he will circulate nominating petitions to run.

"We actually feel that, given this particular election, if there is a low turnout, strange things can happen," said Sundwall, co-owner of an information technology consulting firm in Kinderhook, in Columbia County.

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