Soon-to-Be-Defeated in 21st, Sullivan Soldiers On

Joe Sullivan has wanted your vote since 1982.


The self-described conservative Democrat and one-time Albany city Republican chair  has run for State Assembly, Senate, twice for mayor of Albany, among other offices. Today, he’s hoping voters will write his name on the ballot in the 21st Congressional District in a contest for the seat held by the deaprting Congressman Mike McNulty, a Democrat from Green Island.

“Long” doesn’t begin to describe Sullivan’s shot at succeeding.

“Very often you get written off because, oh, gee, he doesn’t even have a chance,” said Sullivan, who lost the Democratic primary to Paul Tonko, a former state assemblyman who resigned as head of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to run for the seat. “At least I’m providing that choice, and I’ve got some clear, definite positions.”

He would tell the EPA to stop dredging the Hudson for PCBs, and instead spend that money on upgrading sewer infrastructure in the urban parts of the Hudson Valley that lie in the district. (GE is paying for the dredging through Superfund, so that might be hard.) He would support the development of coal reserves. He would argue against universal health care, which “we just can’t afford right now.” He’s a veteran, unlike Tonko or Republican challenger Jim Buhrmaster. And he would be a congressional check on what he said is an inevitable Obama presidency.

Given the Democratic enrollment advantage, observers expect Tonko to win the seat without problems.

Sullivan doesn’t mind the doubters. “People who do that as detractors are people who wouldn’t ever want to see me in there,” he explains. And there are certainly detractors. “But I have a lot of other people who feel entirely different, too.”

So how many votes will you get, Joe?

“A couple thousand, maybe. But I really can’t even predict it this time.”

Soon-to-Be-Defeated in 21st, Sullivan Soldiers On