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GOP heads spar

Republicans lost their stronghold in Colonie in last November's elections, and last week the other shoe dropped.

A letter was sent to longtime town Republican Committee Chairman Harry D'Agostino asking him to step down. The letter was from committee member and Albany County Board of Elections Republican Commissioner John Graziano.

This is all about the party and its future. Harry has been around a long time and has done a lot of good things, but we are sliding downhill, said Graziano.

Graziano said he will vie for chairman of the town party in September when the 120-member Colonie Republican Committee holds its officer elections following primaries. He said he hopes to see the town return under GOP control and stay that way.

"Colonie is critical to the success of the party," he said.

D'Agostino is refusing to step down until his two-year term runs out in September. Then, and only then, he said, if the committee feels it's time for him to step aside and elect a new chairman, then so be it.

"John has some ideas that change will get results. There is nothing wrong with results, but change doesn't necessarily yield results," said D'Agostino, who has served as committee chairman since Jan. 1, 1973.

Graziano is looking for a fresh start in Colonie after party members lost three board seats and the office of supervisor in November. He said that his fear is that the Democrats' momentum could swing future town and county elections, eliminating the one and only Republican stronghold in the county legislature.

D'Agostino agreed that politics is a series of good times and bad times, and the 2007 election losses were one of the bad times -- if not the worst.

Republican board candidates Andre B. Claridge, Michael J. DeMartino and incumbent Ulderic Boisvert failed to win seats on the board, and incumbent Supervisor Mary Brizzell was voted out of office. Democrats Nancy Hernandez, Bill Carl, Bob Becker and newly elected Supervisor Paula Mahan now make up the town's first Democratic majority ever.

For Republicans, the fallout of the loss has had a ripple effect on appointed positions and department heads in the town. Mahan and the Democrats continue to make new appointments where they can.

"Maybe the party could use a new approach," said Graziano. "Harry has to change dramatically for the sake of the party. When no one else came forward (to say so), I did.""

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