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McDonald faces primary challenge

— In 2010, State Sen. Roy McDonald recognized Saratoga County Clerk Kathy Marchione as a Woman of Distinction for her work in local government.

Now, the two will be facing off in a Sept. 13 Republican primary over the 43rd Senate District seat. The newly redrawn district includes part of Saratoga, Washington and Rensselaer counties, as well as all of Columbia County.

Marchione has been in public service for 32 years. She has been the Saratoga County clerk for 14 years running and was town supervisor in Halfmoon for five years.

McDonald was elected to the 43rd Senate District in 2008 after representing the 112th Assembly District since 2003. He was also the town supervisor of Wilton for 23 years and held the position of Chairman of the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors.

“It’s a democracy and in public office competition is part of daily life,” said McDonald when asked about how he felt about running against Marchione.

McDonald saw the support of some Republican and Conservative committees fade this year, and while many groups endorsed him several did not. In his hometown of Wilton, GOP leaders specifically cited his vote last year in favor of gay marriage as the reason for not endorsing the incumbent.

McDonald said he doesn’t expect that issue to be the central point of the campaign.

“I tell people I’ve evolved on the issue … I come from a conservative household and I warned people of it in advance,” McDonald said.

Ken Girardin, a spokesman for Marchione, painted the race in broader strokes.

“Kathy believes that we deserve to be represented by people we can trust to keep their word, no matter what the issue is. Roy McDonald simply isn't the same man that Saratoga County sent to Albany ten years ago,” said Girardin.

Both campaigns said the economy would be the central focus of the contest. McDonald pointed to his past accomplishments in that sphere, including the lack of local property taxes in Wilton along with the creation of the 3,000-acre Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park and the building of the town’s Gavin Park Complex. His campaign also said McDonald was instrumental in Saratoga County becoming “the lowest taxed county in the state” as a member of the Board of Supervisors.

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