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EXCLUSIVE: Colonie Indy chair waffles on endorsement, denies brokering for town job

A month after the Independence Party endorsed Mahan, Champagne sent an e-mail to the Colonie Republican Committee and several Independence Party committee members asking that the party reconsider its endorsement.

When Champagne was asked if at any point he had considered supporting Hoblock, he said he never did.

"No, I didn't want to," he said. "I was committed to the Democrats."

Champagne also said, "At no point did I want a primary."

However, in a July 17 e-mail to fellow Independence Party members, Champagne wrote that more petition signatures were obtained than he expected. He goes on to say that while he was expecting far fewer signatures for the Republicans than were obtained, the efforts on part of both the Democrats and Republicans were "Herculean."

"I believe we should reconsider our position on the Hoblock-Mahan race," he said in the e-mail. "I ask that you consider what I have said and respond to me by Sunday noon time if you would be in support of holding an Emergency Executive Committee Meeting for the purpose of reconsidering whether or not to allow a primary for the Supervisor of Colonie position and issue a [Wilson] Pakula to Mike Hoblock."

The Wilson Pakula document allows political parties to endorse candidates outside their membership.

When asked about the e-mail, Champagne said the reason he sent it was because he felt threatened by Hoblock, someone he called "a powerful man."

According to Champagne, Hoblock was upset that he did not receive the endorsement and told Champagne, "There will be s--t to pay," if he was elected. Champagne said he took that as Hoblock would punish the party for not endorsing him.

Albany County Independence Party Chairman and Vice-Chair of the New York State Independence Party Paul Caputo said he would look into the allegations.

"The Independence Party is committed to the highest ethical standards in government and politics. That is our core principle," Caputo said. "These are very serious allegations, and I certainly hope they aren't true. I intend to look into this immediately and take all necessary action to protect the integrity of our party."

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