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GOP vets candidates for the 109th

Local GOP committees weighed in on which candidates would be best to challenge incumbent Bob Reilly D-Colonie, in the 109th Assembly District, with no two towns picking the same candidate.

Craig Hayner and James Whalen have been endorsed by the Halfmoon and Clifton Park Republican parties, respectively, while Jennifer Whalen's (no relation to James) name was forwarded by Colonie's GOP screening committee for a full committee vote at a later date, according to chairman John Graziano Jr.

Jennifer Whalen was cited by the Colonie GOP screening committee as being at good fundraising and making concrete steps toward organizing her campaign.

Reilly said his campaign remains steady, despite the possible challengers.

"It absolutely changes nothing for me," he said. "I think that the Republicans have to land on one candidate. That's up to them. I typically just concern myself with my platform."

Halfmoon, Clifton Park and Colonie make up the 109th district, with Colonie taking up the largest portion.

Both Hayner and James Whalen discussed the fiscal challenges the state faces and efforts to cut wasteful spending.

In addition to being a councilman in Halfmoon, Hayner is a small business owner, and he said he understands the difficulties working families face.

"I don't come from money. I come from growing up on a farm," he said.

Worried that too many politicians are "out of touch with the everyday person," Hayner said he wants to give a voice to all of his constituents.

Hayner said he is aware of the difficulties of challenging an incumbent, but is up for it. He said Reilly's record of voting with downstate Democrats may hurt him.

"I will always run a positive campaign," he said. "But you can't run away from your record."

Hayner said the conservative municipalities in the 109th call for representation to cut spending and lower taxes, and he will work toward those goals.

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