Setback snarls Stec's quest

QUEENSBURY - Town Supervisor Dan Stec's bid for a seat in Congress was dealt a blow Monday when Stec's own Warren County Republicans chose a candidate from elsewhere - affiliated with the Tea Party movement - over their hometown supervisor.

Stec lost the Warren County G.O.P. party endorsement to Patrick Ziegler of Burnt Hills by six votes. Chris Gibson of Kinderhook and David Harper of Saratoga Springs finished a distant third and fourth respectively.

This four-way showdown in Warren County was the first of 10 county party endorsements in selecting a candidate to challenge Democratic Congressman Scott Murphy in New York's 20th District.

Ziegler said Tuesday because of the current national political climate, health care is likely to drive much of the coming election.

"What we really need is more competition instead of less - We need a clear set of laws and guidelines so insurance companies have strict set of guidelines," Ziegler said. "But we also need to take out some of the more inane regulations that are preventing co-ops, that are preventing coming together as groups to drive down costs."

Last year, Murphy voted against the federal health care bill, but has remained relatively silent about his upcoming vote on the legislation, which is expected to see the House floor late this week.

Warren County Republican Committee Chairman Mike Grasso wouldn't say how close the vote tally was between Stec and Ziegler. But sources said Monday night Ziegler beat Stec by a six votes.

Warren County Republicans are the first of the 10 county committees in the 20th district to throw its support behind a candidate.

G.O.P officials from Essex and Washington counties attended Monday's meeting in Queensbury, but they aren't expected to make their formal endorsement for another two weeks.

Sources said Ziegler wowed the committee with his understanding of the issues.

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