By CRAIG FREILICH
Assemblywoman Janet Duprey (R-Peru) says a primary challenge for the Republican nomination for her 115th District seat would not be fun, but she is not overly concerned.
The district includes the St. Lawrence County towns of Brasher, Hopkinton, Lawrence and Piercefield.
Plattsburgh teacher and a challenger in the election two years ago Karen Bisso has announced that she will be trying again to unseat Duprey, running from the right in November’s election.
Bisso lost a primary to Duprey in 2012 but got the endorsement of the Conservative Party. She finished third in a three-way race with Democrat Timothy Carpenter, a former Plattsburgh city councilor who placed second.
“It’s never fun to have a primary,” said Duprey, whose 115th Assembly District extends eastward from Lake Champlain to include Clinton and Franklin counties as well as the four St. Lawrence County towns
“A primary is a challenge,” said the four-term assembly member who also served for 31 years in Clinton County government before that.
“The voter turnout in a primary is so low. It’s hard to get people out.”
A primary can also be perilous for an incumbent because if a challenger has well-organized support to turn out their voters and overall turnout is low, it can overwhelm the efforts of the incumbent’s supporters.
“The voters usually don’t get excited about it,” Duprey said.
“But great, I beat her before.”
Challenger Bisso is in favor of eliminating the Common Core education standards and of repeal of the gun control law, the SAFE Act.
Duprey said there are certainly flaws in both of those efforts, but the state is not going to wipe out its Common Core plans, nor is it going to repeal the SAFE Act.
For instance, Duprey says, the SAFE Act is being lauded by many downstate Democrats in the Assembly as maybe “one of the best bills ever” and there are 65 Assembly members from New York City, almost all of whom probably would not vote to repeal. Such a vote would require 78 votes for a majority, something she says is very unlikely, “and the governor would never sign it anyway.”
And if the Common Core effort were abandoned, the state would have to return many millions dollars in federal aid that is part of the Common Core deal.
“I’m a practical person. I don’t get emotional about these things. There are not the votes to do what she wants,” Duprey said.
“You have to have enough knowledge of the system to know how things can go. There are many constraints on what you can accomplish. It’s one thing to talk about these things, and another to get them done.”
Duprey said her approach is one of bipartisanship , “working together, finding common ground, seeing which parts of these things can be changed.”