Section: Main,  Page: A10

Date: Thursday, May 26, 2011

COLONIE -- Albany County Democrats gathered Wednesday night to unanimously endorse this year's candidates -- there were no surprises -- and to cheer chairman Dan McCoy, who stepped down from the leadership role to mount a campaign for county executive.

Vice Chairman Matthew Clyne, the Democratic elections commissioner, is taking over the unpaid top post that McCoy held since his election in September 2008.

At Michael's Banquet House in Latham, McCoy told the 303 members of the Albany County Democratic Committee, and the several dozen others who attend for the camaraderie, that giving up the chairmanship was "the hardest thing."

In his resignation letter to party secretary Carolyn McLaughlin, he said he worked to "mend fences and heal factions," something that was "personally and politically challenging." McCoy became a committee member in 1994.

He gave out plaques -- "Dan O'Connell and Jack McNulty Award for Loyalty and Dedication" -- to former U.S. Rep. Michael McNulty, Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings, and former party co-chairmen Frank Commisso and David Bosworth.

McCoy, 41, an Albany firefighter who also is chairman of the Albany County Legislature and a National Guard member who did combat duty in Iraq, is expected to get Conservative and Independence party endorsements.

Albany County Judge Thomas Breslin, who is running for state Supreme Court has the support of fellow Democrats. Nominations for Supreme Court, however, are made in September at judicial conventions Also introduced was North Greenbush Town Justice Raymond Elliott III, a Democrat, also seeking a Supreme Court vacancy in Rensselaer.

Other countywide candidates running for re-election are County Comptroller Michael Conners, County Judge Stephen W. Herrick, Family Court Judge Gerard E. Maney and coroners Timothy Cavanaugh, Herman Thomas, and John Keegan. Endorsed for Albany City Court Judge was incumbent Helena Heath-Roland.