Essex County GOP backs Patrick Ziegler

ELIZABETHTOWN - Essex County Republicans have endorsed businessman and Tea Party activist Patrick Ziegler to challenge Democratic Congressman Scott Murphy in the November race for New York's 20th District.

But Ziegler's bid could already be in jeopardy, as his opponent for the GOP line, Chris Gibson, has garnered support from much larger counties.

Committee Chairman Ron Jackson preferred Ziegler to Gibson. He said Ziegler's enthusiasm for policy played heavily in the committee's endorsement.

"He's a very enthusiastic speaker and hardworking. He has obviously spent a lot of time researching," Jackson said. "Both Gibson and Ziegler had the crowed very enthusiastic in their support."

Essex is the second of 10 counties in the 20th District where Ziegler has bested his opposition, winning Warren County over hometown supervisor Dan Stec last week.

County Republicans from Saratoga and Rensselaer threw their support behind Gibson.

Saratoga County holds 33 percent of the district's total weighted vote, while Essex only wields 2 percent and Warren about 10 percent.

"Saratoga County is really the gorilla in the room," Jackson said. "If Gibson pulls Columbia, that will about wrap it up."

Gibson, a retired Army Colonel, is also considered a favorite among Republicans in the district's other power-center, Columbia County.

The Republican county chairs from the 20th District will convene March 31 at the Desmond Hotel to endorse a region-wide candidate.

Party officials said a primary is not anticipated, but not out of the question, either.

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