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Plan to include Conservative in Republican primary in Assembly race not likely

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WATERTOWN — There’s always room for one more place at the table, except in this case.

Several Republican candidates have lined up to challenge Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa, for the 116th District seat in the state Legislature. But a plan to include registered Conservative Russell J. Finley, a farmer and real estate broker from Lisbon, is a non-starter, according to Jefferson County Republican Chairman Donald G.M. Coon III.

“I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Mr. Coon said.

Mr. Finley approached Mr. Coon earlier this year about securing the Republican Party’s endorsement to run on the Republican line in the September primary.

In New York state, a political party can grant a registered member of another party permission to run on its line under the Wilson-Pakula Act.

“Have I talked to people about this? Yes,” Mr. Finley said. “Have I heard anything back? No.”

Republicans John L. Byrne, Cape Vincent, and John S. Humphrey, Belleville, already declared their candidacies for the seat. Mr. Byrne spend Thursday in Massena.

Another St. Lawrence County Republican, whom party officials would not name, also is considering a run.

“There isn’t going to be a Wilson-Pakula at this point because of the number of candidates,” Mr. Coon said.

For now, Mr. Finley seems satisfied with that.

“I’m giving voters three choices,” he said. “That’s better than two.”

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