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Burke announces plans to challenge Woolf on Democratic line in race for Congress


MACOMB - A former St. Lawrence County Democratic Committee chairman today entered the race for that party’s nomination in the 21st Congressional District.

Stephen W. Burke, who twice served as county chairman, said today that he would force a Democratic Primary by circulating petitions to get on the June 24 primary ballot.

If successful, there will be primaries in the Democratic, Republican and Green parties to name party candidates for the seat being vacated by Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh.

Mr. Burke said he decided to seek the nomination after district Democratic county chairpersons endorsed Aaron G. Woolf as the party’s candidate. Mr. Woolf, a documentary-film maker and organic grocery store owner, was selected on Feb. 12. Mr. Woolf owns a house on about 150 acres in the town of Elizabethtown, Essex County, and spends his time between there and a home in New York City.

A farmer and insurance broker in Heuvelton, Mr. Burke has been a resident of St. Lawrence County for about 30 years. He is a member of the Macomb Town Council and was a member of the Heuvelton Central School Board of Education.

Mr. Burke said he decided to run after he heard and read criticism of Mr. Woolf’s dubious north country connections. He suggested the committees skewed to Mr. Woolf because they felt he had enough money to fund or help fund the campaign.

“I’m an old political warhorse,” Mr. Burke said. “Money can’t be the whole thing. The party organization may be weak in raising money, but that’s no reason to pick a candidate.”

Mr. Burke has worked in the state Legislature, as a legislative aied for Sen. Leon Giufridda and then as aide to Assembly Speaker Perry Duryea.

Mr. Burke, 67, has a wife, Yelena, and daughter, Angelina.

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