New York: Schenectady Legislator Seeking McNulty Seat

Posted March 4, 2008 at 6:33pm

Republicans appear to have settled on a candidate to run for the Albany-area seat left vacant by the retirement of Rep. Mike McNulty (D).

Schenectady County Legislator Jim Buhrmaster (R) is expected to announce his candidacy in a matter of days, the Albany Times Union reported Tuesday. Buhrmaster’s status as the likely GOP nominee was solidified earlier this week when former Saratoga County Treasurer Chris Callaghan, the Republican nominee for state comptroller in 2006, said he would not run.

Democrats still are heavily favored to retain the seat that McNulty held for 20 years. The leading Democratic contenders so far are Tracey Brooks, a former regional director for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D), and Albany County Legislator Phil Steck. But all eyes are on former Assemblyman Paul Tonko (D), who has promised to announce soon whether he plans to run.

Unorthodox Industrialist Eyeing House Seat Again

Jack Davis (D), the factory owner whose self-funded, politically unorthodox campaigns came close to ousting Rep. Tom Reynolds (R) in both 2004 and 2006, announced this week that he has formed an exploratory committee and is considering a third run for Reynolds’ Buffalo-area seat.

“I have the name recognition and I have the money,” Davis told The Buffalo News in Tuesday’s edition. “I’ve learned a lot, I’ll have a better crew, I’ll work harder, and I think it’s a better time to run.”

Davis made his opposition to illegal immigration and unrestrained free trade the cornerstones of his campaigns, and despite the Republican lean of the 26th district, he came within 4 points of defeating Reynolds in 2006 after spending more than $2 million on the race. He also sued to overturn the “Millionaires’ Amendment” provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, a case the Supreme Court is expected to hear later this year.

But Democratic officials found Davis unpredictable and difficult to deal with, and many have cast their lot this cycle with Jon Powers, a 29-year-old Iraq War veteran and former director of a nonprofit organization. There no doubt would be a stark contrast in a Democratic primary between Powers and Davis, who recently turned 75. Attorney Alice Kryzan also is seeking the Democratic nomination.

“You’ve got to watch this guy, he’s a politician already,” Davis said of Powers.
— Josh Kurtz