By David Lombardo – May 30, 2012
The Republican challenge to U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko will be run by a veteran of U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson’s 2010 campaign and will feature a guest appearance by national political consultant Dick Morris.
Patrick Ziegler began work today as campaign manager for Bob Dieterich, of Glenville, the Republican vying to win the House seat for the newly created 20th Congressional District, which includes parts of Schenectady, Montgomery, Saratoga, Albany and Rensselaer counties and is represented by Tonko, D-Amsterdam.
Earlier Ziegler was working as a field representative for Gibson, whose campaign he joined in 2010.
He was called by the Dieterich campaign about a month ago. Ziegler said, “They wanted someone who had experience running a grassroots campaign.” Comparing Gibson’s defeat of Democratic incumber Scott Murphy in 2010, he added that there are similar opportunities to tap into for Dieterich to upset Tonko, who is considered the clear favorite in this race because of a large Democratic enrollment advantage in the district.
“We’re focused on making this is a real race for Congressman Tonko,” he said.
That means capitalizing on the Republican base of support in Saratoga County and performing better in the Democratic Albany County than Tonko’s opponents did in 2008 and 2010. Ziegler added that they are trying to take advantage of national help, like the national Republican Party’s “Young Guns” program.
In 2010, Gibson’s campaign benefited from advocacy groups spending money on his behalf and Ziegler anticipates that happening in this case too. “Outside groups will want to come in and support Bob Dieterich because he is a viable candidate,” he said.
On June 28, the campaign will feature a visit from former Clinton adviser and regular Fox News talking head Dick Morris at a function at the Gideon Putnam hotel in Saratoga Springs. Ziegler said they expect Morris to “generate some real interest.”