Saratoga County Clerk Kathy Marchione went on the offensive Saturday after the campaign of state Sen. Roy McDonald, R-Saratoga, accused her of double-dipping.
Marchione will face McDonald on Sept. 19 in the watershed Republican primary.
McDonald’s campaign and supporters blasted the longtime county clerk because she filed retirement paperwork. They allege Marchione is maneuvering to simultaneously collect her state pension and her $79,500 legislative salary if she beats McDonald.
“Today, I call for Kathy Marchione to suspend her campaign and withdraw from the race for the 43rd Senate district,” said Frank MacKay, chairman of the state Independence Party, in a statement Saturday.
The state Independence Party has backed McDonald, giving the Republican senator a guaranteed line on November’s ballot regardless of the outcome of the GOP primary.
McDonald supporters have also alleged Marchione is trying to circumvent a proposal in the draft 2013 Saratoga County budget that would require employees to pay significantly more for their health insurance.
But Marchione said Saturday she’s not going anywhere and alleged the McDonald campaign is creating false accusations.
“If I do retire, it’s my intention, during my time as state senator, to donate either my legislative salary or my pension to worthy not-for-profits, through a specially-established organization,” Marchione said.
She can rescind her retirement before it goes into effect Sept. 19.
Marchione said party loyalty drove her decision to file for retirement because doing so would likely keep the county clerk’s seat in GOP hands.
“In an effort to prevent the Democrat governor from having the opportunity to appoint a Democrat county clerk, I filed paperwork to begin the process of retiring,” she said.
With the seat vacated before the Nov. 6 general election, it would be filled through a special election, “virtually guaranteeing” the post is filled by a Republican, she said.
Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward, R-Willsboro, and Assemblywoman Janet Duprey, R-Peru, both came under fire in 2010 for double-dipping. Sayward had amassed a state pension during years as Willsboro’s supervisor and Duprey grew hers while working as Clinton County clerk.
McDonald’s campaign recently criticized Marchione because of the heft of her county salary, even though McDonald voted for many of her raises during his years as Wilton town supervisor.
The race for New York’s 43rd Senate district has been laced with fireworks for months.
Marchione accused the McDonald campaign in July of manufacturing a primary for the Conservative Party line in November. The state Conservative Party has staunchly backed Marchione’s bid, but another candidate, Ed Gilbert of East Greenbush, is also seeking the party line.
Some of McDonald’s campaign staff have admitted to carrying Gilbert’s petitions.
Marchione’s name wouldn’t appear on the November general election ballot if she loses the GOP and Conservative primaries. McDonald’s campaign stresses it wasn’t a coordinated effort, but instead just a few staffers acting on their own.
McDonald and Marchione are slated to square off in the race’s only preprimary debate Tuesday in Troy.