Independence Party picks Cunningham over Messina for super

Messina said he is unsure why his party did not lend its support but that he will now be appealing directly to the people.

"I am in the Independence Party and I have acted during my full Town Board involvement in the best interest of the Independence Party," Messina said when The Spotlight informed him of his nomination loss. "Bethlehem voters will make up their own minds about who they want."

Messina said Cunningham can expect to primary for the ballot line.

"I think I represent the people in Bethlehem who have registered in the Independence Party to be able to think and act independently," said Messina. "The bottom line is I am the only person in the Independence Party running for supervisor and I am the only one in this race acting with independent values."

Cunningham said he is no stranger to primaries, particularly an Independence Party primary, after winning his first in 2001 for Bethlehem Town Board.

"I've won more Independence primaries than anyone else in Albany County," Cunningham said.

The endorsement comes as a big win for him after Messina announced his candidacy with accusations of political insider governance. Cunningham says the solid vote of confidence validates his tenure while Messina says the endorsement only validates his point about political cronyism.

"Jack Cunningham has been entirely about control and expedience," Messina said of his opponents record on open government. "The Independence Party has a chance to be great by being independent."

The announcement also comes on the heels of Messina and Jordan's endorsement by the state's Working Families Party, adding an extra ballot for each of the Independence Party members

As it stands now, Cunningham has the Democrat and Independence lines for supervisor and Messina has the Conservative and Working Families Party lines, but is expected to also receive the town's Republican Party nomination.

The Independence line would lend Cunningham two lines, with a major party and a minor party line, or it could give Messina four lines, with a possible major party and three minor party lines.

For updates on this story return to www.spotlightnews.com, or read the full story in the Wednesday, June 10, print edition of The Spotlight.""

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