Incumbent State Senator Roy McDonald is dropping out of the race for the 43rd Senate District, he announced Thursday.
In a too-close-to-call primary race on Sept. 13th, McDonald lost the Republican Party nod to Saratoga County Clerk Kathy Marchione by approximately 100 votes.
McDonald is still eligible to run on the Independence Party line in November, but announced Thursday he will not actively campaign for the General Election.
McDonald's announcement comes one day after Governor Andrew Cuomo announced he would fully endorse McDonald if he stayed in the race. The governor praised him for casting a difficult vote in June 2011 to help pass Cuomo's bill to legalize same-sex marriage.
In his statement, McDonald says moving forward he will be supporting all Republican candidates – including Kathy Marchione – in the General Election, because he believes "maintaining the Republican Majority in the New York State Senate will continue to positively change state government."
Marchione says she "congratulates Roy McDonald on a hard-fought race and I appreciate his support.
He's a good man who works tirelessly for our community."
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos praised McDonald's decision not to campaign as a good choice for his party and Senate district.
McDonald has represented the 43rd district since 2008.
Read McDonald's full statement below:
After discussing the issue with family, friends, campaign staff and trusted advisors, I've decided that I will not actively campaign in the General Election on the Independence Party line.
I want to thank all my supporters that have stood by me over the years, and everyone that voted in the Primary. Thank you to Senator Skelos for his leadership in the Republican Conference and for his faith in me through an appointment as the Chairman of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee. I also want to send a special thank you to the Independence Party leadership for their help and support.
Thank you to Governor Cuomo for his outstanding support, and for the great job he's done for the citizens of New York State. He has my respect and friendship.
Moving forward, I will be supporting all Republican candidates – including Kathy Marchione – in the General Election, because I believe maintaining the Republican Majority in the New York State Senate will continue to positively change state government. It is important to recognize the need for checks and balances in our democracy, which can only be assured by a multi-party system.
This decision was made through significant reflection. I am very proud of my time in public service. Standing up for the communities I represented was always my first priority. I have been a Senator for all people.
As Wilton Town Supervisor, I had the opportunity to eliminate taxes and establish real economic development to help local families. Serving as a Saratoga County Supervisor, I authored the first county budget that cut taxes by twenty-five percent and made Saratoga the lowest taxed county in New York State.
It was humbling to be elected to serve our local communities in the state legislature as a member of the Assembly and Senate. I worked to extend our local success in Wilton and Saratoga County through bi-partisan partnerships and creative problem solving.
But my proudest accomplishments were helping to pass legislation that directly benefitted people. Patriot Plans I, II and III helped New York National Guard and Reserve veterans obtain the benefits they earned serving our country. We also started a pilot program to help returning combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) get the peer-to-peer counseling they need.
The Saratoga-Washington on the Hudson Partnership was established to promote the historic significance and agricultural importance of this region. I was also honored to sponsor legislation that brought GLOBALFOUNDRIES to Saratoga County; this project is creating thousands of jobs along with numerous spin-off opportunities for new businesses.
The hallmark of a great society is protecting those who cannot protect themselves, and the Senate Republican Majority over the past two years allowed me to focus on an issue that has real significance in my life and increasing importance to families in New York State. As Chairman of the Senate Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee, helping individuals with disabilities and standing up for their rights came to the forefront.
First, we passed autism insurance legislation that required health insurance providers to ensure diagnosis and treatment coverage for families that have a loved one persevering with autism. Before this legislation became law, coverage was routinely denied for autism. Next, after an investigative report outlined unacceptable abuse taking place in developmental disabilities group homes, I sponsored legislation and partnered with Governor Cuomo to pass the Protection of People with Special Needs Act. This legislation created a process for abuse to be reported and investigated so that people are protected and criminals are adequately prosecuted.
I've had the wonderful opportunity to gain a new perspective on life, thanks to my two grandsons David and Jacob. Their achievements in overcoming a diagnosis on the autistic spectrum are truly inspiring. Regardless of where I am in life, I will continue advocating for people with special disabilities and working to help individuals and their families facing what always appear to be insurmountable circumstances – but with help and working together, I have learned they are not.
Led by Senator Skelos, the Senate Republicans accomplished much in the past two years. Late budgets were once a sign of Albany dysfunction, but two on-time budgets that closed multi-billion dollar budget gaps without raising taxes or fees demonstrated a desire to turn things around. In addition, we cut taxes for middle class families to their lowest levels in 58 years.
I want to thank my family for their love, support and for allowing me to share my time with the public while in office. My accomplishments are theirs because nothing would have been possible without their understanding of missed dance recitals due to board meetings, my absence at the dinner table because of late night budget negotiations and much more. Thank you to my wonderful wife Angela, and great daughters Stephanie, Jessica and Julie, my fantastic sons-in-law Matthew, Jeff and Charles, along with my wonderful grandsons Jacob and David.
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