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Regional Archives The Altamont Enterprise, September 16, 2010

Breslin is satisfied

By Anne Hayden

ALBANY COUNTY — Democratic Senator Neil Breslin says he is “very satisfied” with the results of Tuesday’s primary.

The seven-term senator got almost 54 percent of the roughly 20,000 votes cast, while challenger Luke Martland garnered 39 percent. The other 7 percent were write-in votes. (See related story on the large number of write-in votes across the board with the new electronic voting machines.)

“I thought it would be closer,” Breslin told The Enterprise yesterday, “because typically the people who come out to vote in primaries are the people who are upset with the current government. You always worry about the primaries.”

The groundswell of frustration that gave Carl Paladino an unexpected and decisive victory in the Republican primary for governor did not carry Martland so far.

Martland, who decided to challenge Breslin after resigning from his position in Governor David Paterson’s office, told The Enterprise early this month that he thought he would win the primary.

After encountering “anti-incumbent sentiment” during his campaign, Martland said, “The anger is more visceral than I thought.” He pledged reform for a broken government.

Breslin’s Republican challenger, newcomer Robert Domenici, will be sounding the reform note as well. Breslin campaigns for reform, said Domenici yesterday, but for the past 14 years, he hasn’t acted on that pledge.

Breslin disagrees. “My district knows I have fought hard for reform. I was one of the first to speak out against Pedro Espada, and say he did not belong in the Senate,” he said.

Espada is being investigated by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, accused of taking money from health clinics in his district, for which he had gotten member-item grants. Espada was trounced by Democrat Gustav Rivera in the Sept. 14 primary.

While Breslin says he is proud to run on his record, Domenici is new to politics.

Domenici retired from the United States Army as a lieutenant colonel, and owns Strategic Response Initiatives, a Veterans Affairs certified service; it is a Department of Defense-based company, located at the Watervliet arsenal.

“I never wanted to be a politician; I still don’t want to be a politician. But, we need change,” Domenici told The Enterprise yesterday. Endorsed by both the Republican and Conservative parties, Domenici said he considers himself an “independent moderate.”

“I am very conservative on physical issues, and moderate on social issues,” said Domenici. If elected, he said he will focus on small businesses, real people, and lowering taxes. 

Domenici’s son is in the Army, and has already served one tour in the Middle East. Domenici said his son is considering serving another tour, because he can’t find a job in Albany.

“Kids are literally running from our county. The elderly are going to Florida and not coming back because they can’t afford to live here anymore,” said Domenici. He said he is worried about teachers and union jobs.

“I sit on two school boards, own a business, and am president of a not-for-profit organization. I live the county’s problems — Breslin doesn’t,” Domenici said.

“A loud and clear message was sent across New York State on Tuesday night when almost 40 percent of the Democrats said no to Neil Breslin,” Domenici said. “Change is needed. I am not running for a Republican seat, I am running for your seat. I represent every citizen, and won’t hold your party affiliation of any or your particulars against you.”

Breslin said yesterday that he was looking forward to the general election in November, and plans to continue representing the 46th district, which covers Albany County.

At 68, he is serving his seventh two-year term as New York State Senator. An Albany native, Breslin graduated from Fordham University, and the University of Toledo Law School. Currently, Breslin practices law as “of counsel” to the firm Hiscock and Barclay and serves as a member of the Executive Committee.

Breslin said he has been active in promoting local business and using local labor, especially with the recent opening of Global Foundries in Malta. He is campaigning to rearrange the tax tables to protect the middle class.

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“I am going to take the November election very seriously, and run as hard as I always do,” Breslin said. “I just hope it’s a very clean campaign, where we talk about the issues — if we do that, I think everything will be fine.”