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Showdown in the 20th

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In a victory two years ago that surprised many political observers, Democratic newcomer Kirsten Gillibrand took New York’s 20th Congressional District from eight-year Republican incumbent John Sweeney. Gillibrand’s electoral feat was remarkable for a number of reasons: Not only would she be the first woman to represent the district but, as the 15th Democratic candidate to defeat a Republican congressperson that night, her upset win meant Democrats would control the House of Representatives for the first time in 12 years (they would take back the Senate a few hours later).

Now — despite running in what looks to be another banner year for Congressional Democrats — Gillibrand faces a tough reelection fight against Republican challenger Sandy Treadwell. Any Democrat-favorable headwinds on the national level are mostly negated by the G.O.P.’s district-wide advantage in registered voters (Republicans outnumber Democrats by a three-to-two margin). In addition, Treadwell — who served as New York’s Secretary of State under Gov. George Pataki from 1995-2001 and as chairman of the Republican state committee from 2001-2004 — has drawn from his family fortune (his grandfather was one of General Electric’s founding executives) to challenge Gillibrand’s own impressive fundraising campaign. The race has shaped up to be one of the most competitive in the state, and has garnered some national attention as well.

Since the race has become so heated, and because a sizable portion of Valley dwellers reside in the 20th district (which encompasses all of Columbia and Greene counties, as well as parts of Rensselaer and Dutchess counties), Hudson Valley asked Gillibrand and Treadwell to discuss their personal lives and how, if elected, they would address the issues that most concern Valley residents. We hope the following interviews give you a sense of who the candidates are, what matters most to them, and which of the two would best represent you in Washington.

Kirsten Gillibrand

You were in Denver for the Democratic convention in August, and were able to speak to the Women’s Caucus and be on the floor for Barack Obama’s speech. What was it like to be there for that historic moment?
Gillibrand: It was very exciting. There was an enormous amount of energy at that stadium, and there were so many people who were looking at Sen. Obama as someone who could fulfill so many of their hopes and dreams for this country. It was quite an electric moment.

On the topic of the presidential election, what do you think about how nasty the campaign has become between McCain and Obama? Do you think it’s different than most presidential elections?
No, I think it’s similar to other campaigns. It’s not surprising. It’s typical for a political discourse.

How do you feel about Sarah Palin being the first woman on the Republican ticket?
I think she’s a very strong candidate and she makes their ticket much stronger.

Are you glad to see a female on one of the tickets?
You know, I always am happy to see more women in public service, which is one of the reasons why I supported Sen. Clinton for President. However, just being a woman isn’t enough. I don’t agree with the governor on many issues, so the questions I ask are, “Are these candidates going to support middle-class tax cuts? Are they going to work to provide health insurance for all American kids? Are they going to work on energy independence in the next decade?” I don’t think that Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin will do those things for our district or for America.

Palin has received a fair amount of criticism about whether she can handle the VP slot while having an infant at home. As an elected representative who has your own infant at home, what do you make of that?
I think all working parents figure it out. In our district, most parents are working parents, and most moms are working moms. No matter what their job is, parents do their best to do their job well and to be the best parents they can be. It’s certainly something that I work on every day.

Speaking of home, how do you and your husband juggle parenting and work duties in two places — Greenport in Columbia County, and in D.C.?
We make it work. The one blessing we have is my mother and father and my husband’s parents are very helpful, so we have a lot of family support. We have to have a very supportive family to make it work.

Do you come home to Columbia County most weekends? How do you handle the split?
We’re all in D.C. together Monday through Friday, then either I come on my own or we come as a family most weekends. We prefer to be in Hudson because my family and all of the kids’ cousins are in upstate New York.

As someone who grew up in Albany and still lives in the Valley, what do you love most about autumn in this region?
I love the crisp air, the color of the trees. I love apples, and apple cider, and apple pies that seem to proliferate during the fall season. We like to go hiking in a lot of the areas around our district.

What about the pace of life in D.C. compared to home in Greenport?
There’s definitely an easier pace at home, and we spend a lot of time outdoors when we’re home. D.C.’s a city, so we enjoy rural life when we’re upstate. We enjoy going to the farmers’ markets; Theo, my four-year-old, very much prefers to be outside than inside, so we do a lot of outdoor activities, and we get to see more of our family.

I read an interview with your husband Jonathan in which he said that you and he don’t like to discuss politics too much. Is that true?
That’s definitely not true (laughs). We talk about the presidential election all the time. He may have meant more [about] my job and what I do every day. Jonathan is a conservative. He’s a Thatcherite — the only person he’s ever voted for is Margaret Thatcher. So I think when he made that comment, he was intimating he’s more conservative than I am on some issues.

Thatcher is the only person he’s voted for? Is he an American citizen?
No! He’s a green card holder. So he has not voted for me yet.

With what little free time you have, what do you like to do? Watch TV, read books, anything like that?
I like to take Henry and Theodore to the park. Most of my free time is spent with my children. Before I had children, I would have played sports or gone for a run or read a book, but there’s not a lot of time for that.

Let’s talk about the issues. What do you think are the three biggest issues facing your district right now?
I think the economy is the number one issue. The cost of gas is stifling. People are very worried about heating their homes this winter, they’re concerned about all their bills — paying for health care costs, paying for food and transportation. Which is one of the reasons why I focused a lot on middle-class tax cuts to pay for early childhood education, to pay for college education, to make property taxes tax-deductible. I focused my efforts on trying to lessen the burden on our families financially.
Health care is an enormous issue, affordable health care that’s far-reaching and having a health care system that actually works for rural communities. A lot of communities are underserved by both doctors and nurses, so there’s often not a lot of availability.
The third issue is property taxes. We pay some of the highest property taxes in the whole country. I supported having some kind of cap on property taxes, and I lobbied the governor on that. Fundamentally I support divorcing property taxes from school budgets and actually finding a different revenue stream for our school budgets. Federally I’ve been trying to work on making property tax tax-deductible. Normally property taxes are tax-deductible, but only for people who itemize their returns. Very few families who make less than $100,000 itemize their tax returns. What our bill did — what got passed in the mortgage package — was to make $1,000 tax deductible for everybody, whether you itemize or not.

You mention taxes. In your Web sites and your public statements, both you and your opponent, Sandy Treadwell, have said you want to extend the 2001 and 2003 middle-class tax cuts. How does your tax proposal differ from his, specifically?
I think he wants to extend all of Bush’s tax cuts. I don’t support extending them for families that earn more than a million dollars because I want to use those funds to give more tax cuts to the middle class. I’d rather enrich the tax-cut package and have more tax cuts for the middle class, and use the funds from the million-plus to pay for it. Mine is middle class-focused, and his isn’t.

According to a recent survey, unemployment in the Hudson Valley is up more than 20 percent from a year ago. If elected to another term, is there anything you can do as a congressperson to create more jobs in the region and attract new businesses?
Yes. When I came to Congress, I founded the bipartisan high-tech caucus to focus on how we can invest in the high-tech industry. What I hope to do for our district is create jobs in the high-tech sector in a couple of different disciplines. One is energy markets, because we have some of the best companies already developing new energy-efficient and conservation technologies. We just had an economic development summit in Saratoga Springs where we had energy-efficient and conservation technology businesses talk about their businesses. The main recommendation we made was to increase tax inducement credits and also production credits. We have this energy bill we just passed in the House, and I’m going to try to make those tax credits better and longer in term. Right now, the wind energy credit is only a year, solar is eight years, but geothermal and all the others — hydroelectric, biomass, waste energy, and marine — are three years. We want to make them all 10-year tax credits. Then a business could have a five-year plan and a 10-year plan and count all those credits. That would drive that market. And with a new administration, instead of just investing $15 billion, we’d invest $100-$150 billion on that project, and that would drive the new energy sector. I want upstate New York, and this district in particular, to be at the forefront of that. We’ve been getting into that energy market already. We have some of the best fuel cell producers in the world, two or three of them right in Albany. We’ve got wind energy throughout New York State. We’ve got solar technologies being developed at RPI, and GE is one of the biggest producers of solar and wind. We have IBM to the south, and we’re hoping to get AMD to the north, in Saratoga County. So we really have the beginnings of this high-tech corridor focused on the energy market. We’ve got the employees for it, great graduates coming out of all these schools, a history of both agriculture and manufacturing, a great quality of life, and really good transportation networks that can be extremely attractive to new businesses and can help grow existing businesses.

You’ve made supporting family farms one of the big themes of both your campaign and your time in office, including helping to pass the Farm Bill. What state do you think the region’s farms are in right now, and what is the outlook for them?
This Farm Bill was better than any Farm Bill in history for the Northeast. We shifted something like $60 billion away from commodities toward conservation and nutrition, so we have much more investment that will help upstate New York and the Northeast. In particular, we have more money for fruits and vegetables — we produce a lot of apples and other produce in our district. We also brought a very good safety net for dairy farmers, so when the price of milk goes down, the safety net kicks in.
We also got money in the Farm Bill for organics, which is important to upstate New York because we have such potential to have organic farms if we want to. The Farm Bill provides $20,000 grants per year for three years for farms that want to transition to organics, which basically gives them access to capital to make that transition.
The third thing in the Farm Bill that is really valuable is a “buy local” provision, which really helped our local economy. It gives incentives and preferences for federal money for those entities that have “buy local” programs. So if you’re a municipal building or a school and you buy locally, you’re eligible for more USDA funding. It helps our economy because it invests in companies and entities that do buy local, it’s good for our farmers, and it’s good for the cost of food — when you don’t transport food over long distances, it’s cheaper.

Where do you think the farms are now compared to when you took office two years ago?
Well, the problem for dairy farms is that the price of milk fluctuates quite a bit. It’s now coming below the cost of production, which is very dangerous. If it’s at $19 per 100-weight and it’s costing the farmers $19-$20 to produce it per 100-weight, they’re in the red. When I was running for office in ’06, the federal government was paying $12 for a 100-weight, and it was costing farmers $14-$16 to produce it. Today, it’s costing them $18-$20 to produce because of the [increased] feed and petroleum costs. I’m concerned that our farmers are in a very difficult spot, which is why I’ve spent so much time working on dairy. But the good news is the safety net we have in the Farm Bill will protect our farmers much more than they were protected before I took office. In terms of other crops, our apple crops suffered from some pretty bad hailstorms this spring, so some of our produce farms are in trouble because of the weather. But hopefully, because the Farm Bill had money in it for fruits and vegetables, they’ll have access to more funds to rebuild.

To view more information about Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand, please visit www.gillibrand.house.gov

 

 

Sandy Treadwell

It’s been a while since you’ve held elected office. Why did you decide to get back into the political game?
Treadwell: Washington is broken; Congress is broken. Far too many members of Congress are focused on their reelection rather than solving the problems of the country. I will serve not as a partisan, but as someone who will represent the 650,000 people of the district, and I will do what’s right for the people of this district. When I was secretary of state, I worked with local government leaders and community activists and helped them acheive their vision for their communities. That has been good preparation for the job that I now seek.

You were born in London, correct?
Yes. My father served in the British army for 25 years. He was a British citizen. My mother grew up in Albany. She went over to England as a Red Cross volunteer in the late ’30s. They met, and after the war I was born in ’46, and the family came here. We lived in New York City where my father worked, but also on my mother’s father’s farm in Essex County, which we still have.

So how old were you when you came over to America?
Six months old — no British accent. [I went into] public service because I really lucked out with my parents, and I heard about how important public service was from them at a very young age.
When I was 17, Martin Luther King came to my school. It was in 1963, a couple of months after the “I Have a Dream” speech. His message to us was you should give yourself first to your family, and if you can you should spend time helping out your community. I remember him saying that it could be a town, it could be a county, or it could be a larger community. His message was our lives would be enriched if we spent time helping other people. He was the greatest man I’ll ever meet, and I get chills when I think about it. I’ve thought about him a lot in the last year and a half.

I know you were just six months old, but having been born in another country, does it give you a different sort of perspective on what it means to be an American?
Yeah, it does. My father was always a British citizen, but he absolutely loved the United States. Certainly, having a connection through him to England means quite a bit to me. When I was a journalist, I spent a year [1986] traveling around the world — I did a book called The World of Marathons, about 26 marathon races around the world. That experience of traveling the world gave me a sense of this globe and the people in it. I really saw the diversity of the human race. It was a very rewarding, remarkable experience, that one year of my life.

So are you an avid runner yourself?
I was — I’ve run five marathons. I’m pretty proud of my best time — about 3 hours and 39 minutes — but that’s a while back. The marathon means a lot to me because it was a goal I had — I really needed to get off cigarettes, so running helped me do that. In 1980, I watched the people finishing the New York City Marathon. These would be the back-of-the-pack kind of people, and I was inspired by that, ordinary people doing an extraordinary physical accomplishment. So I made myself a goal: that by the following year, I was going to finish the New York City Marathon. The next day I huffed and puffed my way around the reservoir, barely made it, but then began running. The next year I did finish the New York City Marathon.
I was a sportswriter. I worked at Sports Illustrated as a reporter. I met my wife there; she was also a reporter.

What sort of sports did you write about?
College football and basketball. My wife was a pro football reporter; we shared an office. We still love sports, although we root for different teams.

What teams do you root for?
The New York Giants and the Yankees and the Knicks. She grew up in Chicago, so she’s a major Cubs fan. She’s very hopeful this could be the year, 100 years later. That would be great, actually. And she’s a great Green Bay Packers fan, and has been forever.

Do you guys ever get into any arguments about sports?
(Laughs.) Well, I promised her that if the Packers ever made it back to the Super Bowl that we would go. And we did [in 1997]. We don’t argue — actually, because of my campaigning schedule, I was not at home for the Giants-Packers championship game this year, which was probably a good thing.
I love sports, and I really enjoyed my time [as a sportswriter], but I didn’t want to interview 20-year-olds my whole life. The sportswriters age, but the athletes don’t.
I know you live up in Lake Placid…
The year I stopped being state chairman, we bought a house in Lake Placid. The plan was to spend the winter in Lake Placid and the summer on our farm in Westport. So we have a house in Lake Placid and that’s our residence.

Are you able to visit the Hudson Valley very much?
Yes, when I was secretary of state, I worked with folks in Red Hook, Tivoli, Marist College. I enjoyed spending time in the Hudson Valley. So beautiful, so historic, and so important.

Did you get a chance to do anything recreationally at all, a chance to run down here or anything?
I did spend a lot of time traveling. I met Wint Aldrich, who is an expert on the history of the Hudson Valley. I spent a great two days with him, learning about communities and the history there.

I was wondering if we could talk about politics. You attended the Republican convention in St. Paul. What did you think of John McCain and Sarah Palin’s speeches?
I was a national Republican party committeeman, and my term ended with the gavel closing at the convention, so I went there for two days as part of my responsibility. I sat with the New York delegation and listened to Gov. Palin; I had no idea she was going to give such a great speech. She certainly rocked the Xcel Center. The following night was Sen. McCain. I’ve been an ardent supporter of Sen. McCain, and listening to his life story, especially his war experience as a prisoner in Vietnam, was, I felt, very moving. They’re a very strong ticket in this district and I’m proud to be running on the same ticket.

What do you say to people who question Palin’s experience as an executive?
She’s been a very successful governor in two years. She took on the status quo; she ran in the primary against an incumbent; she took on Big Oil. I think she’s got a great record, and what really underlines that is her 80 percent approval rating from the citizens of Alaska. They clearly think very highly of her job performance.

Some people have said the Obama and McCain campaigns have become increasingly nasty. Do you think that’s the case, or do you think it’s like any other presidential election so far?
Obviously, this is an election that’s gone on for a very long time. Sen. McCain wanted them to have town hall debates and travel the country together, and I thought that was a great idea. That’s an opportunity for citizens and voters to hear both of them, in a somewhat informal atmosphere. I’m sorry that Sen. Obama didn’t agree to that. I want to do the same thing in my campaign. I’ve asked my opponent to try and do town halls. I think that’s just a great way to have a real conversation and a dialogue. That sort of a discussion elevates the dialogue beyond 30-second ads, but it’s clearly not going to happen, regrettably.

Let’s talk about some of the issues facing Valley residents and members of the 20th District. What do you think are some of the biggest issues?
One thing is the energy crisis — the cost of fuel at the gas pump, obviously the cost of heating our homes this winter. And it’s not just the fuel prices but it’s also prices at the store, prices of groceries.
I spent a day with a friend of mine, Bill Sutton. He was living the American dream — he was a truck driver, and worked for others for about 16 years, then he put enough money aside to buy his own truck. Bill was doing fine until the amazing escalation of costs of diesel fuel. He was doing a delivery from Washington County to Westchester County, and the first stop was at a gas station. He said, “Fill it up to $1,000,” which was what he paid to fill up his tanks. He told me that his American dream was collapsing. He can’t continue at these soaring diesel prices.
We’re still a country with an oil-based economy, and as long as we are, we have to have independence from foreign oil. The federal government needs to do something about it. I made a proposal from my end, but the sad thing is the government isn’t doing a thing about it.
And obviously the second part of our energy problem is our federal government has to encourage the production and development of the fuels of the future — wind, solar, biofuels. Instead of being the number one importer of foreign oil, I think we ought to be the number one exporter of renewables. That would be wonderful for the economy of the Hudson Valley and across America. I don’t have to tell you how beautiful the Valley is. I would challenge anyone to have a more beautiful congressional district than this one. We’ve got major schools and universities, and I think we have a very bright future. But the barrier, of course, is the taxes that are imposed on us. That prevents businesses from coming here and growing here. The only pledge that I have made is I will never vote to raise taxes on individuals and businesses.

Speaking of taxes, based on your Web sites and public statements, both you and Congresswoman Gillibrand have said you want to extend the 2001 and 2003 middle-class tax cuts. How does your proposal differ from hers, specifically?
Well, she’s not for extending the tax cuts. She has signed on to the largest scheduled, massive tax increase, for when those cuts expire. And I’m an absolute advocate for continuing the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. They’re all due to expire at the end of 2010.
I spoke to her and she said —
We have a very different view on that. Our economy is struggling, and this is the wrong time to raise taxes. She has voted for this scheduled tax increase, which will kick in in 2011. It’s actually the biggest tax increase in American history.

Unemployment in the Valley is up 20 percent from a year ago. If you were elected, what could Congress do to help create new jobs in the region and attract new businesses?
Reduce the burden of taxes. We pay the highest taxes of any place in America, and that’s prevented companies from coming here. We have an extraordinary workforce, we’ve got a wonderful quality of life here, and we’re in competition not just with other states but we’re in competition with other countries for jobs. The first thing we have to do is reduce the tax burden, to encourage companies to come here. That has to be done.

A 2007 Dyson Foundation and Marist College poll shows that making health care more affordable is Hudson Valley residents’ number one priority. What can Congress do to make health care more affordable?
Congress has done nothing about health care. It’s a major issue, obviously right up there in the top concerns of Americans, and they’ve done nothing about it. I believe the answer is not a single-payer system — the government should not run health care. Health care should be available and affordable to everyone, but it should be driven by the consumer. The consumer should have more choice. Our members of Congress are able to choose what kind of health care coverage they want based on what they can afford, and our citizens should have the same rights as members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

So do you support allowing U.S. citizens to have the same health care plan as the government?
It has to be a competitive system, driven by the consumer. The consumer should have the right to choose what kind of coverage he or she wants, based on what they can afford, and I think there should be tax credits to help people buy coverage. I think a single-payer, government-owned system is unworkable, and it would end up driving up the cost.

You’ve pledged to serve no longer than four terms in Congress if elected. Is that right?
I believe in term limits, yes.

Why is that such an important issue to you?
Look at the gridlock that’s now happening in Congress. Just about every bill and every decision, the motivation for it is political survival and expediency. They’re not doing the work that the people sent them there to accomplish. Our founding fathers did not envision a professional legislature. They envisioned a citizens’ legislature. You brought your experience to Washington and then you went home. I am an advocate of term limits and I believe four terms is the right amount for a member of the House, and two Senate terms. This was tried in a little different way in the ’90s; we were talking about six years rather than eight in the ’90s, and it went nowhere. But I am absolutely an advocate for term limits.

To view more information about congressional candidate Sandy Treadwell, please visit www.sandytreadwell.com

 

 

ASSEMBLYMAN THOMAS KIRWAN vs FRANK SKARTADOS

Democrat Frank Skartados has his work cut out for him as he challenges 14-year Republican incumbent Thomas Kirwan for the 100th Assembly District seat. Skartados, a former teacher, businessman, and farmer, has launched a vigorous campaign placing school tax reform, green energy legislation, and childhood education at the forefront of his agenda. Presenting himself as a sort of everyman of the district, Skartados has criticized Kirwan’s complacency, saying, “We have been represented for 14 years by Republican Assemblyman Tom Kirwan who has ignored large sections of our District. He has long avoided speaking about the quality of life in some of the District’s inner cities and addressing the decline in good paying jobs in the Hudson Valley.”

Kirwan, a retired New York State police lieutenant, has been applauded by Gov. David Paterson “as a top government reformer whose integrity he would bear witness to anytime.”

 

REP. JOHN HALL vs KIERAN MICHAEL LALOR

Nobody expects incumbent John Hall, who swept into power in 2006 with a narrow win over longtime Republican institution Sue Kelly, to be displaced by Peekskill’s Kieran Michael Lalor. But the independent Republican challenger has been mounting a stiff offense in his pursuit of the 19th Congressional District seat. Recently, he accused Hall’s campaign of filing “frivolous objections” to his Energy Security Now! Party petitions, claiming that Hall is trying to avoid making the election a referendum on energy policy, an issue that is at the forefront of both campaigns. In addition to energy independence, Lalor supports improved care for veterans, economic reforms (including earmark policing and income tax reduction), illegal immigration legislation, and the Second Amendment.

During his congressional tenure, Hall — one of the founding members of pop band Orleans — has shown commitment to universal health care reform, energy policy reform (including gasoline and oil price relief), and an end to the war in Iraq; he also has been a vocal advocate of many measures to improve veteran’s benefits. Lalor — an Iraqi vet — is the founder of the Eternal Vigilance Society and Iraq Vets for Congress; he has criticized Hall as being “anti-military.”

 

ASSEMBLYMAN MARC MOLINARO vs ANNE RUBIN

Republican Marc Molinaro first made waves on the political scene in 1994 when he was elected to the Tivoli Board of Trustees at the ripe old age of 18, making him the youngest person ever elected to office in New York State. The following year he set yet another sensational precedent, becoming the youngest mayor in the United States, a post he held for five years. His effectiveness as a politician was further evidenced by his smooth transition to the Dutchess County Legislature, where he served for four years, successfully cutting the county tax rate and reforming the county’s adoption and foster care services. Today, Molinaro’s political efforts are largely focused on enhancing education, property tax reform to address New York’s “fiscal trauma,” and reforming state government by implementing stricter ethics laws.

The incumbent prince of Tivoli now faces off for the 103rd Assembly District seat against Midwest-transplant Anne Rubin. Democrat Rubin, a community activist and Green Party member, is mounting a formidable campaign emphasizing tax fairness, job growth, water quality and the environment, protecting farms, and capping rural sprawl.

 

ASSEMBLYMAN GREG BALL vs JOHN DEGNAN

What election season would be complete without a smear campaign or two? The very accusations that would seem to offer a hand up to Democrat-endorsed Republican John Degnan over freshman incumbent Greg Ball in the race for the 99th Assembly District seat have instead inspired a new enclave of public support for Ball, and a few raised eyebrows at Degnan, the onetime mayor of Brewster. Ball, a former Air Force officer and self-proclaimed “Albany’s loudest advocate for reform,” was elected to the Assembly in 2006 after a landslide victory that unseated six-term incumbent Willis Stephens. But in early September 2008, a former staffer accused Ball of sexual harassment, compelled by the revelation that he had been accused of stalking an ex-girlfriend in 2003. Publicization of the sordid accusations was immediately credited to Republican State Senator Vincent Leibell, a financial supporter of Degnan and known Ball opposer.

Is the scandal enough to dethrone the reform bulldog, who has vehemently opposed tax increases, promoted immigration reform, and leads the way in legislation to cut dependence on foreign oil? It appears quite the opposite; as Somers’ resident Janet Ross told the Journal News, “There’s been a huge amount of money spent to discredit him, so I came out to vote for him. He’s upset a lot of politicians in Albany, so he must be doing a good job.”

 

Did You Know…?

  • As of March 2008, there were 689,411 registered Democrats in the Valley, and 503,841 registered Republicans.
  • John Kerry garnered 52.3 percent of the Valley’s vote in 2004, compared to George W. Bush’s 45.3 percent (a margin of 84,648 votes).
  • The closest thing the Valley has to a swing state is Rensselaer County, where there were only 529 more registered Democrats than registered Republicans as of March. Rensselaer County is also the only Valley county to have more registered independent voters (those not enrolled in any particular party) than registered Democrats or Republicans.
  • The last presidential candidate to take all 10 Valley counties was Richard Nixon in 1972.
  • In four consecutive presidential elections (1976, 1980, 1984, and 1988), Albany was the only county in the Valley to go to the Democrats.
  • Of the four presidents who were native New Yorkers, two were born in the Valley — Martin Van Buren (Kinderhook) and Franklin D. Roosevelt (Hyde Park).
     
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