Former Schenectady mayoral candidate to challenge Tedisco in November

Thearse McCalmon captures Democratic line in 49th State Senate District

Photo of Cayla Harris

Former Democratic Schenectady mayoral candidate Thearse McCalmon announces her bid to challenge Sen. James Tedisco for the 49th Senate seat on Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, during a press conference in Schenectady, N.Y. (Will Waldron/Times Union)
1of7Former Democratic Schenectady mayoral candidate Thearse McCalmon announces her bid to challenge Sen. James Tedisco for the 49th Senate seat on Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, during a press conference in Schenectady, N.Y. (Will Waldron/Times Union)Will Waldron/Albany Times Union
Former Democratic Schenectady mayoral candidate Thearse McCalmon announces her bid to challenge Sen. James Tedisco for the 49th Senate seat on Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, during a press conference in Schenectady, N.Y. (Will Waldron/Times Union)
2of7Former Democratic Schenectady mayoral candidate Thearse McCalmon announces her bid to challenge Sen. James Tedisco for the 49th Senate seat on Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, during a press conference in Schenectady, N.Y. (Will Waldron/Times Union)Will Waldron/Albany Times Union
Former Democratic Schenectady mayoral candidate Thearse McCalmon announces her bid to challenge Sen. James Tedisco for the 49th Senate seat on Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, during a press conference in Schenectady, N.Y. (Will Waldron/Times Union)
3of7Former Democratic Schenectady mayoral candidate Thearse McCalmon announces her bid to challenge Sen. James Tedisco for the 49th Senate seat on Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, during a press conference in Schenectady, N.Y. (Will Waldron/Times Union)Will Waldron/Albany Times Union
Sen. James Tedisco, R-Glenville, displays his vote tally from the GOP state Senate leadership race on Friday in the Capitol. He backed Catharine Young's unsuccessful challenge to John Flanagan. (David Lombardo / Times Union)
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Sen. James Tedisco, R-Glenville, displays his vote tally from the GOP state Senate leadership race on Friday in the Capitol. He backed Catharine Young’s unsuccessful challenge to John Flanagan. (David Lombardo / Times Union)

By David Lombardo

Senator James Tedisco speaks during a press conference where he proposed bipartisan legislation aimed at giving judges greater oversight over when defendants are given bail on Monday, Nov. 25, 2019, at Sen. Tedisco's office in Clifton Park, N.Y. (Will Waldron/Times Union)
5of7Senator James Tedisco speaks during a press conference where he proposed bipartisan legislation aimed at giving judges greater oversight over when defendants are given bail on Monday, Nov. 25, 2019, at Sen. Tedisco’s office in Clifton Park, N.Y. (Will Waldron/Times Union)Will Waldron/Albany Times Union
Mary Hartshorne and state Sen. Jim Tedisco discuss the St. Clare's pension implosion on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019 in Clifton Park, N.Y.
6of7Mary Hartshorne and state Sen. Jim Tedisco discuss the St. Clare’s pension implosion on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019 in Clifton Park, N.Y.Rick Karlin/Times Union
Donovan McRae is a challenger for Sen. James Tedisco's seat in the 49th state Senate District. (Provided)
7of7Donovan McRae is a challenger for Sen. James Tedisco’s seat in the 49th state Senate District. (Provided)WILL WALDRON/Albany Times Union

ALBANY – Formal Schenectady mayoral candidate Thearse McCalmon has officially captured the Democratic nomination for the 49th state Senate District and will square off against incumbent Sen. Jim Tedisco, R-Glenville, in November.

McCalmon faced a primary contest from political newcomer Donovan McRae, a business owner, who had garnered support from Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy and the city’s Democratic Committee. McRae conceded to McCalmon Wednesday evening after initial totals from Tuesday’s primary election showed McCalmon leading by a roughly 40-point margin – a difference of more than 2,000 votes.

“I would like to thank all of my supporters from the beginning, going well beyond the mayoral run,” McCalmon said in a statement. “They stuck by me, believing me, and I’m honored that they want me to be their voice on the issues. I also want to thank Donovan McRae for taking part in our democratic process and stepping up for ‘change.’ As I continue to campaign through the district, I will highlight the people’s needs and amplify the voiceless.”

Final election results will likely be available next week, after local commissioners tally an unprecedented number of absentee ballots submitted during the pandemic. Several other state legislative primary races – both in the Capital Region and statewide – were too close to call on election night, given the number of outstanding votes.

In an interview Thursday, McRae said he congratulated McCalmon on her victory and pledged support for her campaign.

“I’m glad there isn’t a whole lot policy-wise that I disagree with Thearse, but for the most part, should I decide to get back into politics, it was definitely a learning experience,” he said.

McCalmon, who nearly upset McCarthy during her primary run against him last year, hinged her state Senate campaign on a promise to take career politicians to task, focusing on affordable housing, health care and liveable wages.

Tedisco was first elected to the state Senate in 2016 after more than three decades in the state Assembly. He said he will “be running on my record and on being a strong voice, as I’ve been for the residents of the 49th Senate district.”

“It’s critically important that we keep a strong voice for upstate representing our area, as all levers of power are currently controlled by one voice from one political affiliation from one region of the state,” he said in a statement.

The Senate district includes all of Fulton and Hamilton counties and parts of Saratoga, Schenectady and Herkimer counties.

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