Republican picnic brings out crowd, politicians for speeches

State Assembly candidate Robert Smullen speaks at the Fulton County Republican Club's annual RepubliCan and Clams Picnic Sunday at the Pleasant Square Firehouse grounds. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

GLOVERSVILLE — After the gladhanding was over, numerous GOP speakers imparted their thoughts at the Fulton County Republican Club’s annual RepubliCan and Clams Picnic Sunday afternoon at the Pleasant Square Firehouse grounds.

About 90 people attended the event, in which numerous federal, state and local candidates gave stump speeches.

Retiring state Assemblyman Marc Butler, for which a giant cake was made, told party faithful he was endorsing a certain candidate from Fulton County, but didn’t say who. But the crowd knew he was referring to town of Johnstown resident Robert J. Smullen, former executive director at the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District. And Butler endorsed Smullen in a letter to the editor earlier this month.

“I want to thank you guys for always making me at home in Fulton County,” Butler said.

Smullen, an ex-Marine, stated, “When the time comes, stand up and fight.”

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, left, talks with retiring state Assemblyman Marc Butler at the Fulton County Republican Club's annual RepubliCan and Clams Picnic Sunday at the Pleasant Square Firehouse grounds. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

He faces a primary challenge from Patrick Vincent, who wasn’t in attendance.

“We’re going to win this thing,” Smullen yelled into the microphone.

In the Fulton County Family Court primary race, county Public Defender Gerard McAuliffe stated, “I truly believe I can make every situation that comes before that court better.”

His opponent, Gloversville attorney Michael Smrtic, urged voters to get out on Sept. 13 for the primary.

“I believe nobody can do this without a lot of help,” Smrtic said.

On the state level, Julie Killian, who has served as deputy mayor of Rye, but is a two-time failed state Senate candidate, said she was running for lieutenant governor along with gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro.

“We need a government that is more accountable to the people,” Killian said. “We need to bring back the opportunity to New York state.”

State comptroller candidate Jonathan Trichter, an investment banker and public finance expert from New York City, also attended the picnic.

“We’re experiencing a crisis in leadership,” he told GOP leaders. “New York state faces significant challenges in the future.”

Trichter said as comptroller is in charge of the state’s $200 billion pension fund and will be an excellent steward.

“As your comptroller, I would never sign off on a budget that wasn’t fiscally sound,” he said.

Rounding out the speeches were state Sen. Jim Tedisco and U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik.

Tedisco said he never backs down from a challenge, noting he has a Reform Party challenge in the primary.

He took time to thank the “wonderful” Fulton County Republican Chairwoman Sue McNeil, and Butler, who he said will be missed in the state Legislature.

Tedisco criticized recent comments by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, stating, “We’re still the greatest nation in the world.”

“This is one of the districts that controls the Congress,” Stefanik said of her 21st District.

She said there exists a “crystal clear” choice between herself and Democrat Tedra Cobb.

“One of our biggest challenges in New York state is our high taxes,” Stefanik added.