Dominick Calsolaro

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Published on 5/14/2009 by Metroland written by Chet Hardin

Dominick Calsolaro lost his party’s endorsement, ensuring a primary for the Albany councilman this September—or maybe not

It took two votes by Albany’s 1st Ward Democratic Party committee members to settle on the endorsement of Scott Mannarino.

The first vote went to the current Councilman Dominick Calsolaro, an outspoken critic of Mayor Jerry Jennings, by 7 to 6 in a silent ballot. Although the result went uncontested, according to committee members who were at the vote, it was later ruled invalid. According to Albany County Clerk Tom Clingan, all ward votes must be done in a weighted ballot.

Another vote was called for. Calsolaro’s supporters boycotted this second vote, and Mannarino won unanimously.

James Ponds wanted to vote at the second meeting, but was not able due to a paperwork conflict. He said that, had he been able to vote, he would have voted for Mannarino. He called Calsolaro a “good guy,” but added, “You go with the good-old boy thing, or you don’t get anything accomplished if you go against them.”

Mannarino, a first-time candidate for the council, was last registered to vote at 7 Barclay St., which is not in the 1st Ward, said an employee with the Albany County Board of Elections. According to election Commissioner Matthew Clyne, a candidate needs to be registered in his district one year prior to assuming office, or he will open himself up to legal challenge.

Mannarino didn’t respond to calls for comment.

The house at 7 Barclay is owned by Albany County Legislator Brian Scavo. Scavo has a Mannarino campaign poster on his home’s front window, next to a Jennings sign, but refused to comment about his support for Mannarino.

Regardless, this endorsement fiasco might soon be an unpleasant memory. According to a leader in Albany’s Democratic Party, it is likely that this dispute will be settled behind closed doors. Mannarino might be persuaded to not take the nomination, or to drop out of the race.

Maureen O’Brien, a Calsolaro supporter, said that the conflict over the endorsement hasn’t hurt Calsolaro. In fact, she said, it has probably helped him. Putting a candidate like Mannarino, who is seen as a spoiler candidate urged on by Jennings, up against the popular two-term councilman, has only inspired Calsolaro’s backers.

—Chet Hardin