Congressional candidate says he’ll focus on the economy

Times Union – March 7, 2012

First National Bank of Scotia’s Chief Financial Officer Bob Dieterich toyed with the idea of running for Congress two years ago.

But Albany County Republicans already had their chosen candidate to challenge incumbent Democrat Paul Tonko — heating and cooling business owner Ted Danz.

But after Tonko easily bested Danz in money and votes, Dieterich now has his second chance, announcing on Wednesday his intentions seek the 21st Congressional District seat.

“It’s a huge challenge, but that’s why I’m running,” said Dieterich, a Glenville native, about his odds against Tonko’s name recognition and the district’s heavy Democratic voter enrollment in the cities of Schenectady and Albany. “There’s a big difference between what’s going on in Congress and what I would do there as a businessman.”

Dieterich, 43, a married father of three, said he has been meeting with friends since 2010 to discuss how to launch such an endeavor. Dieterich, a former captain in the Air National Guard, has worked for the First National Bank of Scotia for 18 years. He said because of his financial acumen, his campaign platforms will stress reducing the national debt and reforming tax code.

In his speech to about 200 supporters at Glen Sanders Mansion on Wednesday afternoon, Dieterich focused on what will likely be well-traveled road this year for challengers in races large and small – the continued crippled state of the economy and its effect on families. He also made note of how he thinks the rift between Democrats and Conservatives has ripped apart government.

“America is about leveraging the advantage of diversity and using our differences as a source of success, not an excuse for failure,” he said. “It is time to put an end to the toxic, partisan culture that pervades Congress these days.”

Jim Buhrmaster, who failed to win the seat when he and Tonko, a longtime state assemblyman, ran to succeed longtime Democratic U.S. Rep. Michael McNulty in 2008, said Dieterich’s chances are better than when either he or Danz ran.

Buhrmaster, who is now Schenectady County’s Republican chairman, said it was difficult to beat a Democrat during President Barack Obama’s first run. Also, Danz, an Albany businessman, raised about $5,000 to Tonko’s more than $300,000 in the 2010 race.

Dieterich said he’s aware of the amount of money needed and that he’ll contribute some of his own, although he’s not sure how much yet.

He hasn’t received a formal endorsement of Albany County Republicans, but their chairman, Donald Clarey, was at the announcement Wednesday and said formal support will come soon.

The final picture of what the redrawn 21st Congressional District will look like isn’t known yet, but a magistrate this week unveiled a draft of the new district lines, which would take Schoharie and part of Fulton counties out and include more of Saratoga County.