Days after losing a tough Republican primary battle that went down to absentee ballots, two term Senator Roy McDonald announced he will not actively campaign as a third party candidate in November’s general election. For more on what that means for the race and future of the seat, we’re joined by Matt Hunter in the newsroom.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Considering that it was just Wednesday that Governor Cuomo announced he would continue to support Senator McDonald if he continued to run, Thursday’s news came as somewhat shocking to some, but the two term Senator's departure now leaves voters with two choices on Election Day.
Exactly two weeks after voters went to the polls for the 43rd Senate District Republican primary, Senator Roy McDonald, the loser of that race, announced he will not actively campaign as a third party candidate.
In a statement released late Thursday morning, McDonald said, "Moving forward, I will be supporting all Republican candidates, including Kathy Marchione, in the General Election, because I believe maintaining the Republican Majority in the New York State Senate will continue to positively change state government."
His departure now leaves Marchione and Democratic Claverack Town Supervisor Robin Andrews vying for the seat.
Andrews said, "I think people have lost their trust in government, which is why I'm excited to offer the alternative that I have not spent 30 years in government. I come from a business background and can offer some fresh insight."
"The issues haven't changed, so for me, I'm just going to continue to go out there and meet people and have them get to know me better and run on the issues that we've both been talking about," Marchione said.
One of those issues was same-sex marriage. McDonald was one of four Senate Republicans to vote for last June's historic Marriage Equality Act, a piece of legislation Marchione opposed.
While Andrews was able to marry her longtime partner as a result of its passage, both candidates say they don't expect the issue to dominate the rest of the race.
Marchione said, "Same-sex marriage was an issue, I think as we go forward, it's always going to be an issue in this race, but I believe that people are much more concerned about jobs and the economy."
"I think as we move to the general election as I've said, it's not about that. It really is about the job situation and the economy and the education system," Andrews said.
While voters seemingly have two clear choices come November, McDonald's name will still be on the ballot on the Independence Party line.
This marks the end of a more than 30 year political career for McDonald. Before beginning his first term in the state legislature in 2002, he served as Wilton's town supervisor for 23 years.
Statement from Roy McDonald
After discussing the issue with family, friends, campaign staff and trusted advisors, I’ve decided that I will not actively campaign in the General Election on the Independence Party line.
I want to thank all my supporters that have stood by me over the years, and everyone that voted in the Primary. Thank you to Senator Skelos for his leadership in the Republican Conference and for his faith in me through an appointment as the Chairman of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee. I also want to send a special thank you to the Independence Party leadership for their help and support.
Thank you to Governor Cuomo for his outstanding support, and for the great job he’s done for the citizens of New York State. He has my respect and friendship.
Moving forward, I will be supporting all Republican candidates – including Kathy Marchione – in the General Election, because I believe maintaining the Republican Majority in the New York State Senate will continue to positively change state government. It is important to recognize the need for checks and balances in our democracy, which can only be assured by a multi-party system.
This decision was made through significant reflection. I am very proud of my time in public service. Standing up for the communities I represented was always my first priority. I have been a Senator for all people.
As Wilton Town Supervisor, I had the opportunity to eliminate taxes and establish real economic development to help local families. Serving as a Saratoga County Supervisor, I authored the first county budget that cut taxes by twenty-five percent and made Saratoga the lowest taxed county in New York State.
It was humbling to be elected to serve our local communities in the state legislature as a member of the Assembly and Senate. I worked to extend our local success in Wilton and Saratoga County through bi-partisan partnerships and creative problem solving.
But my proudest accomplishments were helping to pass legislation that directly benefitted people. Patriot Plans I, II and III helped New York National Guard and Reserve veterans obtain the benefits they earned serving our country. We also started a pilot program to help returning combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) get the peer-to-peer counseling they need.
The Saratoga-Washington on the Hudson Partnership was established to promote the historic significance and agricultural importance of this region. I was also honored to sponsor legislation that brought GLOBALFOUNDRIES to Saratoga County; this project is creating thousands of jobs along with numerous spin-off opportunities for new businesses.
The hallmark of a great society is protecting those who cannot protect themselves, and the Senate Republican Majority over the past two years allowed me to focus on an issue that has real significance in my life and increasing importance to families in New York State. As Chairman of the Senate Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee, helping individuals with disabilities and standing up for their rights came to the forefront.
First, we passed autism insurance legislation that required health insurance providers to ensure diagnosis and treatment coverage for families that have a loved one persevering with autism. Before this legislation became law, coverage was routinely denied for autism. Next, after an investigative report outlined unacceptable abuse taking place in developmental disabilities group homes, I sponsored legislation and partnered with Governor Cuomo to pass the Protection of People with Special Needs Act. This legislation created a process for abuse to be reported and investigated so that people are protected and criminals are adequately prosecuted.
I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to gain a new perspective on life, thanks to my two grandsons David and Jacob. Their achievements in overcoming a diagnosis on the autistic spectrum are truly inspiring. Regardless of where I am in life, I will continue advocating for people with special disabilities and working to help individuals and their families facing what always appear to be insurmountable circumstances – but with help and working together, I have learned they are not.
Led by Senator Skelos, the Senate Republicans accomplished much in the past two years. Late budgets were once a sign of Albany dysfunction, but two on-time budgets that closed multi-billion dollar budget gaps without raising taxes or fees demonstrated a desire to turn things around. In addition, we cut taxes for middle class families to their lowest levels in 58 years.
I want to thank my family for their love, support and for allowing me to share my time with the public while in office. My accomplishments are theirs because nothing would have been possible without their understanding of missed dance recitals due to board meetings, my absence at the dinner table because of late night budget negotiations and much more. Thank you to my wonderful wife Angela, and great daughters Stephanie, Jessica and Julie, my fantastic sons-in-law Matthew, Jeff and Charles, along with my wonderful grandsons Jacob and David.
Statement from Kathy Marchione
I congratulate Roy McDonald on a hard-fought race and I appreciate his support. He’s a good man who works tirelessly for our community. Roy and I have been friends for more than 20 years. The primary, and everything that came with it, is behind us, and I still count him as a friend.
I entered this race because New York faces serious problems, and this campaign is about fixing them. The corruption in Albany needs to be stopped. Our state government taxes too much, spends too much, regulates too much and borrows too much. I’m looking forward to spending the next six weeks meeting voters and sharing our ideas to lower spending, clean up Albany and get New York working again.
Statement from Robin Andrews
Whenever a public servant decides to step away to from public life, one has to respect the years of service he and his family have given and I certainly feel that way about Senator McDonald.
Today’s news gives the voters of the 43rd Senate District a very clear choice. Political affiliation aside, people do not want a representative who continues to look to the past, they want someone focused on looking to the future and working with Governor Cuomo to continue building the new New York. My 20+ years in the private sector working as a budget and planning consultant have given me the tools needed to find creative ways to ensure that government is taking steps to encourage growth and job creation, not smother it. I think people understand that problems cannot be solved by continuing to throw money at them or by slashing their budgets. We need sound decision making by people qualified to make those decisions and I am confident that I am that person for the 43rd Senate District.