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GOP emails reveal discontent among leadership

Vice chairwoman blasts lack of candidate for county executive

What started as a benign event announcement has blossomed into a peek at discord among the Republican Party leadership in Albany County over endorsement choices for the upcoming local elections.

Emails between party leaders have been flying back and forth for the past few days, with several persons outside the party and members of the media among the recipients copied on the messages. The emails provide a glimpse at the sometimes-vitriolic local political process as party strategy is discussed in stark terms.

The thread started with Deborah Busch (past Republican Assembly candidate) asking that an upcoming GOP family day picnic be announced and publicized, to which Albany County GOP Vice Chairwoman Melody Burns replied, in part:

...the only thing Albany County GOP should be doing is hang their heads in shame. Only two towns carried petitions for a republican for county executive a key position within the county. The fact that the county has handed the county executive position to the democrats will have a trickle down effect on all republican candidates."

In an interview, Burns said she was typing a response on her phone and didn't realize she had hit "reply all," intending only to reply to Busch.

"I was upset because I just found out we didn't get enough signatures for [Albany County Executive hopeful] Nathan [Lebron]," she said. "It was supposed to be an internal debate... then everybody felt the need to respond to everybody."

Guilderland Republican Party Chairman Matt Nelligan responded to Burns, defending the party's decision not to back Lebron. Figures like Bethlehem Republican Party Chairman Ralph Ambrosio and Lebron himself then chimed in.

In an interview, Lebron said his butting of heads with Albany County GOP Chairman Donald Clarey is to blame for his not receiving the endorsement. Last month, Lebron publicly demanded Clarey resign his position.

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