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Independence Party picks Cunningham over Messina for super

The Albany County Independence Party has unanimously endorsed Democrat Jack Cunningham based on his record over its own member for Bethlehem town supervisor.

The party also crossed endorsed Democratic Councilman Kyle Kotary for re-election, Democrat Nanci Moquin for an open town clerk seat, Bethlehem Independence Party Chairman Mark Jordan for his first town board bid, and Republican Gregg Sagendorf in his bid for another term as highway superintendent.

All of the picks were unanimous.

Left out of the equation is Councilman Sam Messina, who is a member of the party, in his bid to unseat Cunningham as supervisor.

Councilwoman Joann Dawson is also an Independence Party member on the board; meaning if Jordan and Messina won their respective seats, the party could have majority on the board including the chairman, which would be a first in the town's history.

Albany County Independence Party Chairman Paul Caputo, who is also the state's vice chair, said he is impressed with this year's slate of candidates in Bethlehem and that although he believes Messina to be a good public servant, he said he felt Cunningham was the stronger candidate.

We have endorsed Jack in the past and he's done a wonderful job and has been a proponent of open government, Caputo said. "He's been a very good supervisor."

Caputo described Messina as "a very fine gentleman" and wished him well.

Messina said he was "disappointed but not surprised" by the announcement and stated he would "definitely" seek a primary for his own party.

Cunningham said he was happy with the announcement and is looking forward to both the primary and general campaigns.

"I'm pleased to get this nomination and looking forward to a spirited campaign this summer," said Cunningham. "I work very hard on this job and I hope residents see that and continue to support me for another term."

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