State Sen. Kathy Marchione abruptly announces retirement

Reprinted with permission from the Times Union

HALFMOON — State Senator Kathy Marchione (R- 43rd) announced late last Wednesday that she will not seek re-election.

The former Halfmoon town clerk stunned the Saratoga County Republican Committee when she said during a closed-door meeting that this would be her last year in office.

Ms. Marchione was elected to the Senate in 2012 after a bruising primary against incumbent Roy McDonald.

In a statement, Senator Marchione said that it was a difficult decision but that she believes the end of the year will be “the right time for me to step away.”

She said her role as primary caregiver for her mother contributed to the decision.

Saratoga County Republican Committee Chair Carl Zeilman described Ms. Marchione as a mentor and inspiration to many during her four decades in public office. “Our entire team in Saratoga County will miss her unrelenting enthusiasm and love for community, as well as her determination to always make it a better place. I wish her the best as she and her family move onto the next chapter in their lives,” he said.

“If you want to make a difference where you live, you should get into politics,” Sentor Marchione said in 2016.

As a member of the state Senate, she has been an outspoken opponent of gun control legislation, a critic of business regulations, a voice for conservatism and an advocate for the region’s horse racing and tourism industries.

In 2014, the FBI examined a land purchase that Ms. Marchione and her husband made from a prominent developer.

Public records indicate the couple paid $30,000 for the 3.3-acre parcel next to their Halfmoon home; it was sold to them by Landmark Development Group, a limited liability company affiliated with Marini Builders. The builder had received approval from Halfmoon in 2006 to build a 37-lot luxury subdivision near Shelbourne Drive and agreed to sell Ms. Marchione the parcel so that it would provide a buffer for her residence.

Ms. Marchione also drew scrutiny for the significant campaign contributions she received from Bruce Tanski, who for many years has been one of the most active developers in Halfmoon.

The Senate district, which includes Columbia County and parts of Saratoga, Rensselaer and Washington counties, leans conservative, and Republicans have about a 6,000-voter enrollment edge over Democrats. In 2016, she was re-elected with a margin of almost 35,000 votes.

Potential Republican successors may include Saratoga County Clerk Craig Hayner, who is a former Halfmoon Town Board member, Nassau town Supervisor David Fleming and Rensselaer County Legislator Harry Tutunjian.

Koethi Zan, a Columbia County Democrat, had previously created a campaign account to run for the seat. The petitioning process for candidates begins in June.

Democrats seized on Ms. Marchione’s abrupt announcement as a sign of potential turmoil within the GOP ranks.

Ms. Marchione “clearly sees that most New Yorkers are rejecting the extreme philosophy she stands for,” said Todd Kerner, Saratoga County Democratic chairman. “Voters want and demand a leader who will fight for their values and needs. Someone who will place people over partisan politics to find common ground on the problems we all face.”

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