2 Republicans vie for Butler’s seat

More than a year ahead of next year’s state Assembly election, two Republicans have announced they are running to represent a huge, sprawling district that takes up most of New York’s sparsely populated north-central area.

Until Friday, Philip Paige of Madrid was St. Lawrence County’s assistant administrator. Now he is an full-time Assembly candidate for next year’s election.

Fellow Republican Patrick Vincent of Cold Brook in Herkimer County, announced in late August that he is running to succeed Marc Butler in representing the 118th Assembly District. Vincent, who owns a heating and fuel business in Poland, New York, challenged Butler in 2016 but lost in the primary.

Butler, from Newport in Herkimer County, has held his Assembly seat since 1995. He announced in mid August he will step down after his current term, which ends in December 2018.

The 118th includes all of Hamilton and Fulton counties, the northern portion of Herkimer County, nine towns in St. Lawrence County and several towns in Oneida County. It stretches from Paige’s hometown in the north, one town away from the Canada border, to south of Interstate 90, which runs east-west across the state’s middle.

Paige said he is launching his campaign this early because next year’s as-yet-unscheduled Republican primary could be as early as June. He said he expects no Democrat to run and for the primary to be, essentially, the election.

Paige made campaign announcement stops Monday in Madrid, at the Adirondack Hotel in Long Lake, Gloversville, Herkimer and Holland Patent in Oneida County. He said he has family in Hamilton County and knows it well.

Both candidates say term limits is a top priority. Vincent also emphasized less taxation and business regulation, smaller government and repeal of the 2013 SAFE Act restricting guns and ammunition, the Utica Observer-Dispatch reported from his campaign launch. Paige said his other top priority is getting the state to take over Medicaid payments from counties, according to Watertown Daily Times coverage of his campaign launch.

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