The Saratoga County Republican Party has selected a candidate to run for Congress in New York’s 20th District, where a longtime Capital District political figure cruised to reelection two years ago.
Recently, Jim Fischer was selected by the Saratoga County Republican Committee as the endorsed candidate to run in the Congressional race in the 20th District, a seat currently held by three-term Democratic Congressman Paul Tonko.
The 20th district was redrawn in 2012. Tonko, a former state Assemblyman, previously represented New York’s former 21st district.
Tonko handily defeated Republican challenger Robert Dietrich by a 34-point margin in 2012.
Portions of the current 20th District, including Saratoga Springs, were previously represented by Republican Congressman Chris Gibson, who successfully won a bid for the new 19th District in 2012.
Though Fischer has not yet been endorsed by the other Republican Committees in the 20th District, he said his status as political outsider gives him a different perspective than the incumbent Congressman.
"Congressman Tonko represents the far-left wing of the Democratic Party," said Fischer. "In 2011 he was ranked with a number of other members of Congress as the most liberal Congressman. That I don't think is indicative or reflective of the 20th District."
Fischer, a resident of Burnt Hills, is the owner of wireless communications company Crystal Clear Communications.
John Herrick, Chair of the Saratoga County GOP, could not be reached on Wednesday. Herrick praised Fischer’s experience as a small business owner in a Facebook post:
“His entrepreneurial experience will be paramount in bringing small business principles to governance, which is exactly what our country needs right now. Jim’s innovative ideas will help steer our country back onto a path of success and economic growth.”
Fischer has already launched a campaign website, and is seeking the nomination of the other county GOP committees across the 20th District that includes Albany and Schenectady counties, and portions of Rennselaer, Saratoga, and Montgomery Counties.
"Now it's just getting out and meeting with people," said Fischer. "It's bread and butter types of issues that I'm hearing as I begin talking with people."
Fischer said he has been discussing issues such as the Common Core, Social Security, and the rising costs of higher education.
In a statement emailed to WAMC, Congressman Tonko said:
"I welcome a robust debate this fall on the pressing issues and challenges facing New Yorkers and the nation. In the meantime, I am focused on pushing policies that will help the private sector grow jobs and create opportunity for hardworking individuals and families right here in the Capital Region."
The Saratoga County GOP has also endorsed Elise Stefanik for the Republican nomination to run for the 21st District, a seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Bill Owens, who this week announced his upcoming retirement.