by Jesse J. Smith / January 18, 2019


Pat Courtney Strong

Three Democrats have officially jumped into the race to replace County Executive Mike Hein, hoping to get an early lead in the process of wooing a few hundred town committee members who will select a candidate to run in a special election later this year. On the Republican side, one veteran elected official said that he’s weighing a run, in part because he’s alarmed by the lack of experience among the presumptive frontrunners.

Hein’s announcement earlier this month that he would step down to take a job as state commissioner of Temporary and Disability Services set off a dash among Democrats to capture the party’s banner in what will be a compressed election season. Under the county charter, a new executive must be elected via a special election within 90 days of the office becoming vacant. While Hein must still be confirmed by the state Senate, most observers believe he will likely leave office by the end of the month or early February. In the absence of a primary, county Democratic Party leaders have said they expect to hold a convention to nominate a candidate for the special election. Republican leaders say the county executive committee will choose a candidate.

Pat Ryan

Two candidates were first to declare for the race for the Democratic nomination. Patrick Ryan, a 36-year-old former Army officer, and tech entrepreneur, and Pat Courtney Strong, a 63-year-old clean energy consultant. 

A third, Deputy County Executive Mark Rider, entered the race on Jan. 14. 

Both Ryan and Strong are veterans of the 2018 election cycle. Ryan was runner-up in a hard-fought seven-way Democratic primary for the 19th Congressional District seat eventually won by Antonio Delgado. Strong ran an unsuccessful campaign to unseat state Sen. George Amedore (R-Rotterdam).

Original Article