Updated: 05/07/2008 05:06 PM
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — An incumbent congressman says he will back Dale Sweetland in this year’s congressional race. A state assemblyman, who was challenging Sweetland, backs out of the race. Relief for local party leaders, hoping to avoid a primary battle.
But they forgot to check with David Gay.
Gay is best known in local political circles for his work in local organizing for the presidential campaign of maverick republican Ron Paul, a candidate who shares Gay’s views on reducing government and staking out a pro-life position. And also a strong opposition to the war in Iraq.
He too had sought support from the Onondaga republican committee, but received less than one percent of the vote. He says he expected that outcome, claiming the committee was going down the same road it followed when it chose Sweetland to run for Onondaga County Executive in 2007.
“The republican committee, the higher-ups in the republican party, said to the voters of Central New York, this is Dale Sweetland. This is your guy. And they said no. They said, Joanie Mahoney’s our girl. Let’s go for Joanie Mahoney. And she won,” Gay said.
Gay won’t make much of an effort in further committee votes in the congressional district in Cayuga, Wayne and Monroe counties. Though not committing to one yet, he says he will make preparations for a primary challenge.
“Have to circulate my petitions and talk to the voters and let them know that my message is in support of them and not just in support of a particular political party or political agenda,” said Gay.
Gay is setting no timetable for making a decision on a primary challenge. And at this point, he says he’s still open to talks with Dale Sweetland. But what would he need to hear?
“Dale Sweetland would have to tell me that his plans for Congress are to actively work to reduce the size and scope of government to its constitutional limits,” Gay said. “And unless he can tell me that that’s his exact plan, I can’t support him.”
So for now, Gay says he’ll continue organizing and raising money for a possible battle ahead.
If Gay decides to launch a primary, he will need to collect 1,250 signatures on petitions. Petitions would begin circulating in the district in late June.