Saratoga A forum scheduled for candidates running in primaries for the 43rd State Senate District will go on as planned, but one candidate says she will not take part.
Kathleen Marchione, who is challenging incumbent Roy McDonald in the Republican primary, announced she would not be attending the event after Edward Gilbert, who is challenging Marchione on the Conservative line, was invited. Marchione accused the two candidates of colluding against her.
“It has nothing to do with the forum and everything to do with Roy McDonald tag teaming with Gilbert and me sitting up there in two different primaries,” said Marchione.
If Marchione does not show, voters would hear from McDonald and Gilbert, who are not running against each other. As a rule, the League of Women Voters of Saratoga County will invite all candidates to public forums. Ann Kril, the chairwoman of voter services for the League, said the event will continue as planned, and all candidates who show will take questions from the audience.
“There’s always a lot of interest and people are hoping to see all the candidates,” said Kril. “We’re still hoping to convince her to come, we’re holding out hope.”
Marchione, however, said she is worried the McDonald and Gilbert will coordinate their answers. Kril said that candidates wouldn’t have a way of knowing what the questions were to be asked beforehand and that the moderator does not permit any personal attacks on any candidate.
“We encourage her to come and explain why she wanted to run…where she stands on the issues,” said Kril. “It’s good to inform the public so that they can make an informed vote.”
Neither Gilbert nor McDonald returned a call for comment on the upcoming forum.
The forum will be held Thursday, Sept. 6, at the Maple Avenue Middle School, Saratoga Springs, at 7 p.m. The moderator will be Donna Dardaris, secretary for the LWV of Saratoga County and membership chairwoman.
As of mid-July, Marchione has over $100,000 in her war chest, while McDonald is sitting on nearly $370,000.
Robin Andrews of Claverack will not be at the Sept. 6 event, as she is unopposed on the Democratic line, but she and any other candidates on the general election ballot will be invited to a general election event on Oct.18 at the Saratoga Springs High School Teaching Auditorium.