Karen Bisso won St. Lawrence County in her unsuccessful GOP primary against Assemblywoman Janet Duprey, but among party leaders, her campaign has received a most unwelcome response.
The latest is her Conservative Party campaign's continuing squabble with Hank Ford, the St. Lawrence County Conservative Party chairman. Russ Finley, a St. Lawrence County resident who serves as Mrs. Bisso's campaign manager, said he was going "guns hot" at Mr. Ford, and called on him to resign over a meet-and-greet snub.
"Hank Ford has to go," Mr. Finley said via telephone this morning.
Mrs. Bisso lost the Sept. 13 GOP primary to Mrs. Duprey, but is continuing on the Conservative Party line, and says she can win. Tim Carpenter, a Democratic city councilman of Plattsburgh, is also a candidate in the Nov. 6 race.
Mr. Ford and Mr. Finley have had a running feud, and it is putting Mrs. Bisso's campaign — a third-party effort that needs all the help it can get — in the balance.
Mr. Finley was angry this morning that his campaign wasn't invited to a meet-and-greet with Conservative Party candidates, which he called "the last straw."
It turns out that this quote from Mr. Ford might be all the more pertinent: "We are not the rubber stamp for anyone."
Even the candidates that the Conservative Party has endorsed, it turns out.
Mike Long, the state Conservative Party chairman, said that Mr. Finley has no right to call on Mr. Ford to resign, and said that it's Mr. Finley who should step aside for the better of the Bisso campaign.
"I think Mr. Finley is the guy who has to get out of the way," Mr. Long said. "He's causing her a problem."
He said the party stands behind Mrs. Bisso, and it might have been the right thing for Mr. Ford to have invited Mrs. Bisso to the meet-and-greet.
"She has our endorsement. She's our candidate. We support her," Mr. Ford said.
Mrs. Bisso also got a less-than-warm welcome at a St. Lawrence County Republican event last week, she said. But she said she's still a registered Republican, and chided Mrs. Duprey for not showing up.
Mrs. Duprey told me that she has to consider the fact that Ogdensburg, which isn't in her district, is three hours away, and the event was unlikely to feature any voters in her district. She also said that she attended an event Sunday morning in Lawrenceville, which is in the district.