First Ward Councilman Dominick Calsolaro said that having an opponent in Scott Mannarino “came out of the blue.” The challenge, the two-term incumbent said, looks like a play by supporters of Mayor Jerry Jennings’ to keep Calsolaro from having the time to campaign for Corey Ellis, Jennings’ main opponent in the 2009 mayoral race.
Carolyn Ehrlich, Jennings’ campaign manager, confirmed that Mannarino has the mayor’s endorsement and that Jennings has been going door-to-door with Mannarino in the First Ward to drum up support for the newcomer. Calsolaro is not surprised. He’s not worried, either.
“When I ran the first time, in 2000, it was an open seat then, and he [Jennings] ran with my opponent then and I ended up winning,” said Calsolaro. “I don’t know how much effect it’s really going to have.”
A search of Mannarino’s campaign filings on the New York State Board of Elections Web site reveals that his campaign committee claims to have raised and spent less than $1,000 since his campaign began.
“They filed an ‘in lieu of’ statement, which means that at the closing of the reporting period neither the total receipts nor the total expenditures for the committee have exceeded a thousand dollars in the aggregate,” said John Conklin, information officer for the state BOE. This statement exempts Mannarino’s campaign from filing an itemized report detailing all transactions since the beginning of the campaign.
Although Mannarino himself could not be reached for comment, Metroland contacted his spokesperson, Ang Morris, who said she had no information on how much money Mannarino’s campaign has raised.
“Mr. Mannarino is out campaigning, going door-to-door in the First Ward just listening to the voters’ issues and concerns that they have and is campaigning hard to make sure that the voters have an option in this next primary,” said Morris. “Anything else is a non-issue, except for making sure that the voters have an option.”
As Metroland first reported in May, Mannarino was not registered to vote in the First Ward. Instead, he was last registered at 7 Barclay St., a property owned by Albany County Legislator Brian Scavo. Morris countered that Mannarino is a lifelong resident of the ward and is very active in the community.
“Our main platform is basically being an effective leader,” said Morris. “We’re not about a negative campaign. We’re all about a positive campaign and getting rid of negative, petty politics.”
However, Calsolaro said that he goes to almost every neighborhood meeting in his ward and has yet to see Mannarino at one of them.
“I don’t really know if he really knows the concerns of the people of the First Ward,” said Calsolaro. “He’s not a participant in the community.”
Calsolaro said that he’s been going door-to-door for the last month and making calls to voters in the First Ward; he feels comfortable with the progressives’ presence on the common council. “I think the residents of Albany want people speaking out,” he said. “We’re listening to and doing what the citizens of Albany want us to do.”
Calsolaro said that while it’s nice when there is no opponent, he is optimistic about his chances of keeping his seat. The residents of his ward know him, he said, and what he’s done in the First Ward.
“I don’t think I’m going to lose,” said Calsolaro. “I’m looking for a big night on September 15th.”