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Candidates talk results, campaigns

November 8, 2012
By CHRIS MORRIS - Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

The winners in Tuesday's election have had their say, so what's on the minds of their opponents?

Plattsburgh educator Karen Bisso is upset with one of her opponent's characterizations of her campaign. Bisso was on the Conservative Party line and ran a grueling campaign, criss-crossing the three-county 115th Assembly District for months on end. Her campaign came up short on Tuesday, as incumbent Assemblywoman Janet Duprey, R-Peru, cruised to victory over Bisso and Democrat Tim Carpenter of Plattsburgh. Duprey got 53 percent of the vote to Carpenter's 26 percent and Bisso's 21 percent.

In an interview Tuesday night, Duprey accused Bisso of running nasty campaign. In a statement emailed to the Enterprise, Bisso blasted Duprey in words at least as harsh as any she used before Election Day.

"Negative campaign?" she said. "It was honesty with no frills, and Janet did not like being called out on taking bribes, double dipping. ... This woman has no class.

"She created the negative campaign when her own record was revealed," Bisso said. "If you don't want a negative campaign, stop abusing your power, taking our money for your own gain, taking bribes from businesses you do favors for and selling your vote to special interests."

The "bribes" Bisso referred to were campaign contributions from companies like Pfizer and Bombardier, which both benefitted from state funding through the North Country Regional Economic Development Council, which Duprey supports. The double-dipping refers to when Duprey "retired" from the state in 2010, and then went back on the payroll in 2011, which let her collect a pension from the state retirement system and receive her pay as a lawmaker at the same time. The action was legal due to a loophole, but critics of Duprey have repeatedly questioned her about it.

In a thank-you message to her supporters, Bisso said her campaign logged more than 26,000 miles of travel, meeting with community groups, volunteers and local officials.

"Thank you for believing in me and this process," Bisso wrote. "Corruption and intimidation doesn't disappear because one person steps forward to do battle. It is extinguished when many take swipes at it from all angles. The process has begun. Let's write the end of this story together."

Carpenter was upbeat despite his loss.

"The results speak for themselves," he wrote in an email. "The voters wanted Janet back. Congratulations to her. I am happy with what I have done. ... This has been a great learning experience."

Dennis Tarantino of Glens Falls, who lost to Republican Dan Stec in New York's new 114th Assembly District, said he thinks he ran a good race and was able to draw more attention to important issues like increasing the minimum wage, which he supports.

"We got our points across," Tarantino, who ran on the Democratic and Working Families party lines, said in a phone interview. "Procedurally, I think we covered most of the district very well. I don't think I would have done much different as far as campaigning.

"As far results are concerned? Sure, we're disappointed. We thought we'd do better. We thought it'd be a little bit closer."

Tarantino said he was pleased with his performance in Essex County, where he lost to Stec 6,898 to 6,276.

"One of the issues that I had was trying to convince people that I have the same abilities as a Kirsten Gillibrand, who came out of a law office and went right into public service; a Bill Owens, who did the same thing out of Plattsburgh; a Ron Stafford, who did the same thing in the state Senate," he said. "There was, to some extent, a historical precedent set with people like Betty (Little) and Teresa (Sayward) and then of course Dan, coming where they come from (local government)."

This was Tarantino's second try for an Assembly seat. He ran against Sayward in 2004 and lost. He said he's not sure if he'll run for office again in the future.



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