Blogs > Saratogian Newsroom

The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Wednesday, September 12

The Fightin' 43rd

If you wanted to hear about where the candidates stand on issues facing the Empire State, last night's debate was probably a bit of a disappointment.

Saratoga County Clerk Kathy Marchione (who recently announced her potential retirement) and incumbent Sen. Roy McDonald squared off in a debate hosted by the Troy Record and The Saratogian at Sage College Tuesday night only two days before the primary that will decide which of them will be on the ballot under the label "Republican."

While we (I was one of the panelists) asked questions about topics ranging from NYRA to economic development and healthcare issues, we heard a lot of answers about double-dipping, betraying voters, dogma and, of course, taking the job and shoving it.

I'm not going back through all of the accusations. I think we heard enough of them last night. 

It didn't take long before the two candidates, who are embroiled in a pretty nasty race for the Republican nomination, to launch strikes at one another (as I recall, it was in opening statements).

To me it is somewhat surprising how negative the campaign has gotten, because they are supposed to be on the same team (Republican), but as Marchione said last night: "This is politics sometimes."

Marchione had more supporters in the crowd, with some people suggesting her campaign organized the group to come out.

Things got vocal during the debate -- even from the crowd. Both candidates at different times responded to hecklers, which seemed like a bad idea.

When asked about how negative the campaign had gotten and why, both candidates said it was all a distraction from the real issues and blamed one another.

Both also say they have no regrets from their campaigns.

"I have done nothing in this campaign that I would change, not one thing," she said, while he said "My campaigns have always been positive. They've driven me to the breaking point. Enough already! I'm not going to take it anymore."

McDonald, also, said "social issues" are a distraction from the real issue, which he said is the economy. That was likely a reference to same-sex marriage which in many ways led to the race in the first place.

Marchione, on the other hand, said she thinks social issues are important and accused McDonald of betraying voters with his vote. In a relatively new twist on that, she honed her attack by saying that he made a "quick change of conscience" over  same-sex marriage and pointed out his coffers that were filled by some same-sex marriage "activists" after the vote, which she said seems "very suspicious to some people."

McDonald said "I did it because I bought it was right." He added that "I could have found easier ways to get elected," which, to be fair, seems accurate. 

The debate garnered coverage from news outlets not only in the region, but further out. The New York Times covered the debate, using it as a launching point to discuss the bigger picture of Republicans who supported the same-sex marriage vote. That reporter, Thomas Kaplan, said the primary vote is being watched closely by more than just New Yorkers. Since it was the first same-sex marriage vote passed under a Republican-controlled legislature, other Republicans are watching what happens to those Republicans who supported it.
“The more that the advocates for this are able to tell Republicans that you can do this and live, then the greater success they’re going to have,” said Robert J. Bellafiore, a communications consultant and former press secretary for Gov. George E. Pataki, a Republican. “But it’s hard to convince somebody to take their first bungee jump if all they see at the bottom of the jump is a bunch of splattered bodies.”
                     — From "Gay Marriage Vote Rises as Test in Upstate G.O.P. Race"


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home