NISKAYUNA: Race to begin

It's time for partisans to put on their walking shoes and perk up their smiles as political campaigns in Niskayuna prepare for their official kickoffs on Tuesday, June 12. That's when backers of candidates for town office can legally start circulating petitions for their choice in an election that will determine whether local Democrats continue their unanimous control of the five-member town board.

Both sides say they are ready for what is expected to be a hotly contested campaign, and Republicans are hopeful they can make substantial inroads with a slate led by former Niskayuna school superintendent J. Briggs McAndrews. Emphasizing McAndrews' importance to the party's strategy, town GOP chairman Michael Mansion said that a June 6 campaign fundraiser received an extremely positive response.

"It is too early to provide any numbers yet, but I can say that things are going very well," said Mansion. "We are getting a great response to Briggs and it looks very positive."

Joe Landry, the Democrat's choice for town supervisor, said on Sunday, June 3, that his party is also gearing up to join the push for campaign cash.

"We're holding an organizational meeting tonight to go over things like petitioning and planning a fundraiser so that everything will go smoothly," said Landry. "We shouldn't have a problem with getting enough signatures. We have about 40 people on the Democratic committee in Niskayuna and they are all ready to hit the street next week."

Along with the Democratic line, Landry said he's also seeking support from the Conservative, Independence and Working Families parties in the area.

"We haven't heard back from any of them yet, but we expect they will make their decisions before everyone starts getting petition signatures on June 12," said Landry.

Town Republicans are also looking for support from other political parties as part of their campaign, according to Mansion. But they don't expect the Working Families Party's backing because, "they didn't even invite any of our candidates to an interview," Mansion said.

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