It looks like Republican Dan Stec will have a Democratic challenger in the race for New York's new 114th Assembly District.
Dennis Tarantino, a lawyer from Glens Falls, has been endorsed by Democratic committees from Warren, Washington, Saratoga and Essex counties. He is expected to formally announce his candidacy at a press conference next week.
Tarantino didn't return a message left for him at his Glens Falls office. When asked to comment on his candidacy by the Post Star, he told the newspaper "I have no further comment on it."
Dennis Tarantino, a lawyer from Glens Falls, plans to run for the new 114th Assembly District in New York.
(Enterprise file photo)
The district is currently called the 113th Assembly District and is represented by Republican Teresa Sayward, who will retire at year's end to spend more time with her family. It will become the 114th District next year, and its shape will change slightly to include all of Warren and Essex counties and parts of Washington and Saratoga counties.
Sue Montgomery-Corey, chairwoman of the Essex County Democratic Committee, said Tarantino is a terrific candidate.
"I worked with him when he ran for the Assembly several years ago," she said. "It was his first race as a candidate, and my first race as a county chair. It was very fun to work with him. He's a smart, interesting guy, and he really likes people and cares about them, and that comes across when he's out there meeting people."
Sayward handily defeated Tarantino in the 2004 Assembly race. In 2009, he was among about 30 Democrats who expressed interest in running for New York's 20th Congressional District after Kirsten Gillibrand was appointed to the U.S. Senate. Scott Murphy became the party's eventual nominee and went on to defeat Republican Assemblyman Jim Tedisco in the general election.
Montgomery-Corey said she expects the upcoming Assembly race to be a good one.
"I think it's a race where you have two smart, personable guys running, and I think it'll be an interesting race, and a challenging one," she said.
As many as six Republicans expressed interest in running before county committees settled on Stec. Jay town Supervisor Randy Douglas, who chairs the Essex County Board of Supervisors, was a popular choice among Democrats, but he decided to stay out of the race and concentrate on town and county issues.
Montgomery-Corey said several other potential Democratic candidates were vetted before her committee endorsed Tarantino.
"We talked with them and wanted to make sure they understood what it really takes to run a race like this," she said. "Dennis is in a really good position that way because he's run one before. He understands what it takes to make a campaign work and he understands what it takes to engage people. I think that made him, in my eyes, a very strong, credible candidate early on.
"I've been trying to get him to run again for a while, so I was pretty excited when I heard that he was ready to try it again," Montgomery-Corey added.
Stec, who is supervisor of the town of Queensbury and chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, welcomed Tarantino's candidacy.
"I think it's a good thing that the Democrats were able to identify a candidate," Stec said. "I think it's good for voters to have somebody representing both of the major parties on the ballot in November."
On Tuesday, Stec picked up endorsements from 12 of his Republican colleagues on the Warren County board. He's also been endorsed by the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties.