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GOP Assembly hopeful spars with Hank Ford

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By BRIAN AMARAL

BRASHER FALLS - A Republican Assembly hopeful said her campaign is being “held hostage” by a spat between her campaign manager and the top Conservative Party official in St. Lawrence County.

Plattsburgh educator Karen M. Bisso claims St. Lawrence County Conservative Party Chairman Henry R. “Hank” Ford won’t endorse her candidacy for the Nov. 6 election as long as Russell Finley is her campaign manager. She won’t attend a second round of interviews with the local party in protest.

“He’s told me that the endorsement process would be incredibly difficult because of a member of my campaign,” Mrs. Bisso said.

But Mr. Ford denied that a personal issue exists, and said that Mrs. Bisso very well could be the St. Lawrence County Conservative Party’s preferred candidate for the Nov. 6 Assembly race. Mrs. Bisso and David J. Kimmel, both of Clinton County, are looking to win the Conservative Party nod and to force a Republican primary against Assemblywoman Janet L. Duprey, R-Peru.

After redistricting, the 115th Assembly District will stretch into eastern St. Lawrence County towns of Lawrence, Brasher, Hopkinton and Piercefield.

“This is very misinformed, as far as I’m concerned,” according to Mr.Ford. “I don’t have any personal issues with anyone.”

Mr. Finley, a St. Lawrence County resident and registered Conservative, would not go into details about his spat with the Conservative Party chairman, but said that it was related to the question of whether or not he was on the party’s executive committee.

Mr. Ford said that Mr. Finley did not acquire the necessary petitions to sit on the committee again, while Mr. Finley said he’s still serving on it.

“All I can tell you is that we’re willing to welcome Karen back with open arms if she’s interested,” Mr. Ford said.

A first round of interviews between the candidates and the St. Lawrence County Conservative Party took place earlier this month, but the committee declined to make an endorsement and said the candidates should come back for a second round of interviews. Mrs. Bisso said she still hopes to receive the party’s endorsement.

The Franklin County Conservative Party already has endorsed Mrs. Bisso.

Ms. Duprey, the incumbent Republican, cannot receive the endorsement of the Conservative Party because of her vote in favor of gay marriage.

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