Fulton County GOP committee waiting to endorse candidates in state Senate race

After a “hot and heavy” debate Tuesday night, the Fulton County Republican Committee chose to table a motion to endorse Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, R-Glenville, for the 49th state senate district race, the Fulton County Republican chairwoman said.

There are three candidates in the Sept. 13 Republican primary for the state senate district, Tedisco and Fulton County residents Christian Klueg, owner of CMK Realty and Northville based attorney Nancy Nugent.

The Fulton County committee’s decision to table the Tedisco endorsement goes against the trend of county Republican committees endorsing Tedisco, who has received the endorsement from the GOP committees in Schenectady, Saratoga, Hamilton and Herkimer counties.

Tedisco interviewed with the Fulton County committee Tuesday night.

This morning, Tedisco said he believes he will ultimately receive the Fulton County committee’s endorsement when it reconvenes in August.

“We had a great discussion last night. They have a great chairwoman, McNeil. It’s a great committee and I have full confidence in them and the committee system. They have supported a great public servant in [state Sen. Hugh] Farley over and over again and I’m pretty sure they are going to support a great public servant in the final analysis and the best candidate for this job and I think that’s me,” Tedisco said. “My name is on the table for an August endorsement and I plan on earning their endorsement as I have Herkimer’s, which I got unanimously and Hamilton’s, which I got unanimously. I have four out of the five [counties in the district]. I have Republicans and the independent endorsement, and I’m positive I will get the Conservative and probably the Reform. I think we’re doing well. This is a new territory [for me to represent], a beautiful territory up there. I’ve been up there quite a bit and I’m going to get up there quite a bit, get to know the people and let them get to know me.”

The Fulton County Republican committee’s decision to table the Tedisco endorsement comes on the heels of a May 23 news release from Klueg assailing the committee system as a corrupt, secretive “back-door” process.

“I believe the voters should decide in the primary who the Republican candidate is going to be in a general election. I don’t believe that we should have closed-door crony appointments of our candidates on the Republican primary. I think this is the right decision – it allows the committee members to work for the campaign that they want to, and I believe even more importantly it allows the voters to choose in September,” Klueg said. “I know that in August the committee may still choose to endorse one candidate over the other. I believe that the voters should decide instead of the select few. It’s no surprise to anybody that voters are frustrated with the status quo of our political establishment. We see that on the federal level with the presidential races. We see that on the state level as well. The voters are going to have the final say on Sept. 13. As I’ve been out meeting with voters, I’m encouraged. People want a change. They don’t want the same political insiders who promise change, but don’t deliver.”

Fulton County Republican Committee Chairwoman Sue McNeil said the decision to table a motion to endorse Tedisco was made by secret ballot after a long discussion of the candidates.

“There are committee people who are supporting Christian. When we endorse, it becomes our role to support the endorsed candidate, so there are some who support Christian and there are a lot that do not. We also want to keep our Republican committee intact, so we thought the best thing to do was to leave the endorsement open,” she said. “Now people will have opportunity to work on all three campaigns and now we’re holding our committee intact. Fulton County is our priority. It was a hot and heavy and wonderful debate back and forth, and that’s what the procedure is all about. It’s everybody getting their opinion heard. I didn’t just talk the talk, it wasn’t until everybody had everything they had to say that we moved on to the next point.”

McNeil said Tedisco was well received by the committee. She said the committee had already interviewed Klueg, who is a member of the committee but did not attend the meeting Tuesday night, as well as Nugent.

“[Tedisco] blew a lot of people away. I had people, who having not known much about Tedisco, after hearing him [Tuesday night], now – hands down – they are going to vote for him. That it would be a no-brainer. Some people just couldn’t believe what an awesome assemblyman he is and that he would make a great senator, but they still believed it would be the right thing to do to table the endorsement,” she said. “The endorsement is not over with; it’s just tabled. Christian and Nancy are both from Fulton County and that was significant in the decision. We have two people from Fulton County. They’re our own people. Let’s remember to encourage other people to run.”

Nugent did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment for this story.

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