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Bethlehem supervisor picks up Conservative endorsement

Kotary wins Independence nod, Messina vows primary

Bethlehem Supervisor Sam Messina has been endorsed by the town Conservative Party in his bid to win a second term in office.

This marks the first line Messina has won, guaranteeing him a place on the ballot. His challenger and sitting Town Board member Kyle Kotary has secured the Democrat, Republican and, as he said late this afternoon, the Independence lines.

The Conservative Party and [Albany County Conservative Party Chairman] Richie Stack have demonstrated true political courage. They have stuck with me through thick and thin, they have demonstrated great conservative fiscal values and support for the issues that are important to people, Messina said.

Messina is an Independence Party member, and was also not endorsed by his own party in 2009, when he narrowly beat out then-supervisor and Democrat Jack Cunningham. Messina said he would "absolutely" primary for the Independence line. He did so in 2009 and could not take the line from Cunningham, but a protracted legal battle was fought in the courts.

Messina had strong words for his own party.

"I have served the people of Bethlehem well, and acted independently for all people. And to my way of thinking, the Independence Party should have supported their Independence Party member and the current supervisor....I earned their support. Once again, they have shown that they are controlled by the [town Democratic Committee Chairman Matthew] Clyne political machine, and that's too bad for Bethlehem," he said.

Albany County Independence Party Chairman Paul Caputo said it was in part Messina's past performance in primaries that led the party to endorse Kotary (who has found the Independence Party's support in his other runs for office).

"Quite honestly, if you look at the last two primaries in our party...Sam lost nearly 2-to-1," Caputo said. "That gives a very clear message to our executive committee that our memebrs don't favor what Sam is doing... Just because a person is a member of our party does not mean he's the best man for the job."

The Working Families Party has yet to make an endorsement.

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