GOP nominates Dan Stewart to challenge Mayor Rabideau
Joe LoTemplio, Staff Writer, The Press-Republican Newspaper (Plattsburgh, NY)
Councilor Dan Stewart (R) will be a featured panelist at the 1999 "Liberty For All!" Log Cabin National Leadership Conference in New York City on August 27-29, 1999.
(PLATTSBURGH, NY) – City Councilor Daniel Stewart, who just two months ago said he would not be seeking re-election, will challenge Clyde Rabideau for mayor in November.
"I believe I have a lot to offer the city, and I believe I am capable of doing the job in a professional manner," Stewart told city Republicans Tuesday night at their caucus.
"With me, what you see is what you get. I am very straightforward."
Stewart said after he announced on April 5 that he would not be seeking re-election, he was besieged with cards, letters and phone calls from people in the community and from within the party, urging him to reconsider.
"I was going to leave because I wanted a bigger challenge. Now I don't have to leave to get that bigger challenge," he said.
Stewart was first elected to the Common Council in 1993 as a Democrat. He was the first openly-gay candidate to be elected to the city council, and he was re-elected in 1995 and 1997. But last year, Stewart switched parties after having differences with Democratic leaders.
He claimed Tuesday night that he did not change parties for the chance to run for mayor.
"I told people then that was not why I was changing," he said.
Defeating Rabideau, a Democrat who has served five terms, will be a challenge Stewart acknowledged, but he believes he can bring in votes from both parties. Democrats outnumber Republicans in the city by about a three to two count, but there is a significant number of voters who are registered with a third party or none at all.
"That will be the key," said City Republican Party Chair Mark Dame, who ran against and lost to Rabideau in 1995.
Dame also said that not having the Clinton County Legislature races contested this year will help.
"There will be more attention on the council races and this race, and we believe that is to our advantage," Dame said.
Legislators changed their terms from two years to three years following the 1997 election.
Stewart said he has yet to formulate his strategy, but he said his campaign will be issued oriented.
"I am not interested in anybody's personal life, and I will not play that game," he said.
Rabideau said it does not matter to him who his opponent is.
"I'll match my record against (Stewart's) and my vision against his, and I'll more than match my commitment to staying in Plattsburgh," Rabideau said.
"And I'll bring my message to every door in the city because nobody outworks Clyde Rabideau."