Two former Democratic NY-21 Congressional District candidates are running for statewide office as the filing period closed Thursday.
Democrat Emily Martz of Saranac Lake is challenging state Sen. Elizabeth Little, R-Queensbury, in the 45th Senate District.
Republican Assemblyman Dan Stec of Queensbury is facing a challenge from Ron Kim, who dropped out of the NY-21 race in March.
Martz was able to collect nearly 2,000 signatures in nine days, according to a statement released by her campaign.
Martz said in a telephone interview on Friday that getting the signatures was a sign of enthusiasm for the campaign.
“Fresh ideas is what people keep saying, and making sure there’s an actual election, a choice between two candidates,” she said.
Martz said she decided to run for the seat within a week after she placed fourth in the Democratic primary on June 26. Around that same time, the Supreme Court restricted unions’ ability to collect fees from non-members and Justice Anthony Kennedy retired.
She said she believes Kennedy’s replacement will likely push the court very far to the right. Also, she said it is important for New York state to continue to be a leader in supporting workers’ rights, providing educational opportunities and providing access to health care.
Martz said her main concerns are supporting women’s rights, health care, economic development and education.
Little, who is completing her eighth two-year term, has not had a Democratic challenger since 2006, when she defeated Tim Merrick by a 2-1 margin. She was uncontested in subsequent elections until 2016, when Green Party candidate Steve Ruzbacki mounted a challenge. He received 12 percent compared with 88 percent for Little.
Ruzbacki is running again.
The fourth candidate is Mark Schneider on the Working Families Party line.
Little said in a telephone interview on Friday that the large field is because of the current political climate, where people are angry. She attributed that to the 24-hour news cycle that features people on television arguing with each other.
“I’m going to run a positive campaign based on my advocacy and my working to get results,” she said.
Little cited her record to pass constitutional amendments to protect the environment, obtain funding for Lyme disease programs and opioid addiction treatment, expand cell coverage in the Adirondacks and increase school funding.
Among some of her current priorities are introducing countywide emergency medical services in rural areas and expanding broadband.
Little also has the Conservative, Independence and Reform Party ballot lines. She welcomed the campaign.
“I always campaign even if I don’t have an opponent because I believe you need to be out listening to their ideas and asking them to support you,” she said of voters.
Ruzbacki said in a telephone interview on Friday that his issues include peace, social justice, the environment and single-payer health care. He wants to take power away from the wealthy elites that control both major parties.
“I think we offer the only real path forward, which is to unite people in solidarity and not divide them in things that don’t matter or matter to only a very few people,” he said.
114th Assembly District
Stec is seeking his fourth term representing the 114th Assembly District. He said in a phone interview that it is good for democracy to give voters a choice.
He said he is proud of his record on constitutional amendments, such as forfeiture of pensions for elected officials convicted of a crime and establishing a land bank in the Adirondacks.
Stec would like the Assembly to take up the ethics reform package.
He said he focuses on “meat and potato” issues and would like to address the state’s fiscal and business climate.
“The state spends too much money. Our taxes are too high. Our business climate suffers because of that. People are leaving the state. We need to change the trajectory,” he said.
Stec also has the Conservative, Independence and Reform lines.
Kim is running on the Working Families Party line. There is no Democratic candidate.
Kim is a lawyer who served as Saratoga Springs public safety commissioner from 2006 to 2009. He made an unsuccessful bid for mayor in 2009. He lives in Queensbury now.
Kim did not return a phone message or Facebook message seeking comment on Friday.
Warren County Democratic Committee Chairwoman Lynn Boecher said Kim did not seek the Democratic line. She referred questions to him.
“When I saw that his name was there, I did call him and he deferred to the Working Families Party,” he said.