State Democratic Committee has a hot seat

Election season is quickly sweeping over the nation, and the story is no different in Saratoga County, where there will be a race for a 110th district seat on the State Democratic Committee.

Five districts in Saratoga County each have two representatives on the committee, one male and one female. As July 10 the deadline for submitting a petition to run has passed, it is clear that Jane Weihe will once again be representing the 110th, but there will be two contenders for the male seat: incumbent Shawn Thompson and Patrick Southworth, current chairman of the Ballston Democratic Committee.

Southworth said he has collected a record number of signatures with his 1,573 signatures, more than three times the required 500. Saratoga County Commissioner of Elections William Fruci was not able to confirm the record, stating that the Board of Elections does not track or count the total number of signatures turned in by candidates.

Southworth said he made a point of collecting his signatures in every town and city in the district.

"In order to involve more Democrats in the process, we decided to hit as many Democrats as possible," he said.

He was quick to criticize Thompson, saying his experiences campaigning for signatures showed that the incumbent was out of touch with his constituency.

"No one outside the city [Saratoga Springs] knows him," said Southworth, "and even in the city, when we were going door to door, they have never heard of the guy."

Thompson said that petition signatures "are not a show of voting strength in any way. Nine times out of 10 people will be willing to sign a petition just to get another person on the ballot." He did not know the exact number of signatures he collected, but estimated the number at around 900.

Thompson has served as the vice chair of the state committee for two years. Prior to that, he served on the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee for six years, where the Democratic Party showed "unprecedented growth and strength."

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