A mixed bag of party primaries will affect Bethlehem voters on primary day Tuesday, Sept. 18.
In the race for Bethlehem town supervisor, Democratic candidate Jack Cunningham and Republican/Conservative candidate Jim Grady are each trying to secure the Independence party line. Grady has said he is the true Independence candidate, even though Cunningham has already received the endorsement of the Albany County Independence Party.
I am a true Independent who started the party in the town, said Grady who traces his Independence affiliation back to the Ross Perot for president campaign.
Grady believes he did not receive the Independence Party endorsement for supervisor because of Assemblymen Tim Gordon's, I-Slingerlands, allegiance to Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
"The executive committee interviewed both candidates and unanimously supported Jack Cunningham," said Gordon, an Independence Party member who also serves on the Albany County Independence Party executive committee.
Gordon said he believes Cunningham is the best fit for residents of Bethlehem because he supports ideas and goals promoted both by Gordon and Theresa Egan when she was town supervisor.
"If I thought Jim Grady was a better choice for supervisor, I would support him, but he is not," said Gordon.
Grady said the party has disenfranchised independent-minded people who want "Independence leadership."
"This is pure politics at its most basic level," said Grady.
There is also a Conservative Party primary for Bethlehem Town Justice. Incumbent Democrat and Independence Party candidate Paul Dwyer will face off with Republican candidate Daniel Persing for the Conservative endorsement.
In the 34th Legislative District in Albany County, Democrat Thomas Cotrofeld, the designated candidate of the Independence Party, will be challenged by Republican/Conservative candidate Jared King, who is filing an opportunity to ballot to obtain the Independence line. Cotrofeld was appointed to the 34th District seat this spring after Cunningham stepped down to become Bethlehem supervisor.