At least two men are vying to replace John “Jasper” Nolan, the longtime Saratoga County Republican Committee chairman who will step down in September after leading the party for 27 years.
Nolan announced his intent to step down Saturday, saying the party needs a newer, younger face.
Chris Callaghan, the former Saratoga County treasurer, said in a press release Monday he will seek the chairman’s seat. Callaghan, who ran unsuccessfully for state comptroller in 2006, has been a committeeman for four decades and serves as the committee’s treasurer.
As chairman, he would focus on using social media and other technology to reach voters, he said.
Nolan and other county Republicans said John Herrick, the former Saratoga Springs GOP chairman, is also interested in seeking the position. Herrick, the county committee’s vice chairman, couldn’t be reached for comment Monday.
Nolan said he’s not backing any particular candidate. He said he intends to offer guidance to the next chairman and remain involved in local politics.
He worked his first political campaign in 1958 and became county chairman in 1985. He retired as a history teacher in 1993.
“He’s been an institution,” said Scott Kingsley, Wilton’s GOP chairman. “He’s been the only county chairman that I’ve known. I’m 39 years old. He’s been in office since I was 12.”
Wilton’s Republican town supervisor, Art Johnson, said Nolan offered Republican candidates at the local, state and federal levels “all those things you need to get elected.”
“He did it all for the candidates,” said Johnson, who has known Nolan for more than 20 years.
Committee members will elect a new chairman after a Sept. 13 primary election between state Sen. Roy McDonald and his challenger, County Clerk Kathy Marchione.
The Senate election has proven divisive for the county party. Town committees throughout the county split their support among the candidates, and when the county committee gave its endorsement to McDonald, Marchione’s camp criticized Nolan for conducting a vote including only representatives of towns within the Senate district’s newly amended borders.
Nolan has offered strong support for McDonald.