Joy of debating with Tonko on October 27; Neutral NRA in Assembly race

Republican congressional candidate Liz Lemery Joy announced that she has agreed to debate US Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, in a debate to be televised at 8 pm Oct. 27 on WMHT public television.

The two candidates in the 20th Congressional District also agreed to debate at a League of Women Voters forum that has not yet been scheduled.

Tonko’s campaign confirmed the debate arrangements.

In other regional political news:

Neutral NRA in Assembly race

The National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund did not endorse the 113th Assembly District race between incumbent Carrie Woerner, D-Round Lake, and Republican challenger David Catalfamo, an economic development official and writer from Wilton.

Woerner received a “B” grade on a recent NRA report card, based on his voting record on gun issues.

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Catalfamo received an “AQ” rating, based on their responses to a questionnaire.

Woerner was one of four Assembly Democrats to receive B grades, the highest grade of all Assembly Democrats.

The rest of the Democratic Assembly candidates received grades of “D” or “F,” or no grade at all because the NRA was unable to find enough public information about their positions on gun issues.

Elsewhere in the region, Assemblyman Matt Simpson, R-Horicon, who is running unopposed, received an “A” grade.

NRA rates Stec ‘A+’

The National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund has endorsed state Sen. Dan Stec, R-Queensbury, for re-election, giving him an “A+” rating, based on his voting record on gun issues.

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Stec is running in the 45th Senate District against Democratic challenger Jean Lapper, a certified public accountant and financial advisor from Queensbury.

The NRA did not rate Lapper because the organization was unable to find enough public statements about his positions on gun issues.

Stec is one of two Republican Senate incumbents to receive “A+” grades.

The other was Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt, a Republican from North Tonawanda.

Elsewhere in the region, the NRA endorsed Sen. James Tedisco, R-Glenville, who received an “A” grade.

Tedisco is running in the 44th Senate District against Democrat Michelle Ostrelich, a Schenectady County legislator, who received an “F” grade.

The NRA did not support Senate District 43, which is a vacant seat.

State Assemblyman Jake Ashby, R-Castleton, received a “B” grade.

The NRA did not rate Democrat Andrea Smyth, a health and family policy advocate from Troy, because it could not find enough public statements about Smyth’s positions on gun issues.

Humane Society Report Cards

US Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, received a “100+” rating on a new annual report card from the Humane Society Legislative Fund, the lobbying arm of the Humane Society of the United States.

Tonko received a perfect score, on a scale of one to 100, based on her co-sponsorship and voting on priority animal rights legislation this year, plus “extra credit for leadership” on animal welfare issues.

It is the fourth year in a row that Tonko has received a “100+” score.

Tonko is running for reelection in the 20th Congressional District against Republican challenger Liz Lemery Joy, a former Schenectady blogger and speaker.

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In the 21st Congressional District, US Representative Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, received a rating of 18, out of a possible 100 points.

His rating, in part, was based on failing to support several of the group’s priority bills in 2022.

He also voted against the group’s recommendation on two bills.

She voted against two amendments to the economic competitiveness legislation that would curb wildlife trade and trafficking.

She voted in favor of an amendment to a budget bill to remove language aimed at reducing sport hunting of elephants in Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The group praised Stefanik for voting in favor of a budget bill that provided $1 million for manatee protection and $5 million for a Department of Veterans Affairs equine therapy program.

The group praised her for co-sponsoring and voting for legislation to reduce the number of captive tigers, lions and big cats and ban public contact with wild animals.

Stefanik’s score of 18 is his lowest score in four years.

It received scores of 44 in 2020 and 2021, and 67 in 2019.

US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, DN.Y. it received a score of 83 in 2022.

The group did not compile a report card for Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, DN.Y., in 2022.

AFL-CIO endorses Castelli

On September 19, the New York AFL-CIO endorsed Democratic congressional candidate Matt Castelli.

“We look forward to educating, engaging and mobilizing our members to ensure a victory for all of our endorsed candidates,” AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento sadly said in a press release.

The AFL-CIO waited until after the primary to endorse the race, said Darcy Wells, a union spokeswoman.

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Castelli, a former CIA counterterrorism officer who lives in Glens Falls, is challenging US Rep. Elise Stefanik, a Republican from Schuylerville, in the 21st congressional district.

On September 20, Castelli announced the endorsement of the New York State Federation of Public Employees and SEIU Local 1199, the state’s largest health care union.

“I appreciate what Matt stands for,” said Tina Bender, a member of SEIU 1199 and a nurse at Canton-Potsdam Hospital. “Matt is an advocate for unions and he will work hard to protect our members and their rights.”

Stefanik Endorsements

US Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, announced Thursday that the New York City Police Department Lieutenants’ Benevolent Association has endorsed her bid for re-election.

Union members include retired lieutenants who live in the 21st Congressional District.

“Elise Stefanik absolutely opposes any and all calls to defund the police,” Louis Turco, the union’s president, said in a press release.

Stefanik is running against Democratic challenger Matt Castelli, a former CIA counterterrorism official who lives in Glens Falls.

On Wednesday, Stefanik announced that 41 Hamilton County elected officials endorsed her candidacy, including Indian Lake Councilman John Rathbun, a Democrat.

On September 20, Stefanik announced that 70 Fulton County elected officials endorsed her candidacy.

Maury Thompson covered local government and politics for the post-star for 21 years before retiring in 2017. He continues to follow regional politics as a freelance writer.