Republican and Bethlehem supervisor hopeful Jared King is on the outs with his own party.
Although it’s not inconceivable that would be the case when it comes to a committeeperson challenging a party’s endorsed candidate, it is rarely put to paper.
The leadership of the Albany County Republican Committee has sent King what amounts to a cease and desist letter, claiming he has exhibited a history of defamatory action that has come to a head with his recent effort to primary the party’s pick for supervisor, Fred DiMaggio.
DiMaggio has stepped down from his position as the Bethlehem GOP Committee chairman to focus on his campaign, and Peter Kermani, the former head of the County Republican Committee, has taken over.
DiMaggio said the committee’s troubles with King started long before the past few weeks.
“We repeatedly tried to engage him in a positive way,” DiMaggio said. “He has not worked for the collective good of the committee. … With Jared, it’s not the common goals, it’s what Jared’s goals are.”
Counsel to the county Republican Committee Bryon McKim, who is also a committee member hailing from the City of Albany, composed the letter sent to King. He said he’s been aware of the leadership’s problems with King for about a year.
McKim said King has made defamatory statements about members of the party, though he did not elaborate on specific charges. He described the letter as an instrument to make it clear King does not speak for the party. He also said King has regularly derailed meetings and made it difficult to get the party’s work done.
“Jared has disrupted and hurt the town committee to the point where there’s members who don’t show up anymore. There are members who have walked out when he’s gone on his diatribes and disrupted meetings,” he said.
McKim emphasized the committee has not taken steps to remove King from the committee, and that it is not a step under consideration. State law allows for the removal of a committeeperson “for disloyalty to the party or corruption in office.”
King, however, said he think it’s obvious this is the opening move in an effort to oust him from the committee.
“They are getting very nasty, and they do not like the idea of me talking about what I call ‘love of people Republicanism,’ doing stuff that is in the people’s interest and not just their personal interest,” he said.
He described the county’s Republican party as a “cabal” whose leaders routinely cut secret deals with Democrats to lock up elections and secure patronage. He also accused DiMaggio of locking committeepersons he disagrees with out of the process and demanding monetary donations from them.
“The Republican voters in this town have to understand how thoroughly corrupt the county party leadership is under Peter Kermani, (County GOP Chairwoman) Rachel Bledi and their puppet, Fred DiMaggio,” King said.
The final straw came last week, McKim said, when King was asked to leave the grounds of the Good Samaritan Village Nursing Home in Delmar as he was gathering signatures for his petition.
Staff at the adult home there said King had been barred from the home last year for approaching residents while walking petitions.
“He was going right into their private rooms and shutting the door. They didn’t know him,” said administrator Courtney Stricos.
She said unlike an apartment complex, the residents of the facility’s Kenwood Manor are in the care of the staff there. Some have dementia or other medical issues.
“For an unknown person to walk into their rooms is inappropriate,” Stricos said.
She said last week, King left the premises, but not before arguing with staff over his right to be there.
King said he had indeed been asked to leave while carrying petitions in 2012, but it was not his understanding he was barred from the facility.
“If they don’t want me to come back, that’s fine. I left a message with that activities director, and I didn’t get a response,” he said.
As for his petition drive, King said he’s received a good response from Republican voters thus far.