WARRENSBURG - If the reaction is positive among upstate G.O.P. leaders, this November's race for New York's 20th Congressional seat could pit neighbor against neighbor, as Republican Queensbury Supervisor Dan Stec is considering challenging Democratic incumbent Scott Murphy of Glens Falls.
Stec said this week he is conferring with his political mentors to determine whether he should run for the office.
Stec's announcement is the first from potential challengers of Murphy, who has only held the seat since he defeated GOP Assemblyman Jim Tedisco in a special election last spring.
Stec said Jan. 22 he has begun meeting with Republican Party leaders from the 10 counties in the 20th District and that he won't make a final decision until he has gauged their support.
And considering the traditional demographics of the district and the current mood of the American populace at large, Stec sees real potential for a fiscally conservative candidate.
"Everyone can debate how we got here - is it the current administration's fault, or the previous administration's fault?" Stec said. "The fact of the matter is since President Obama has been in office and Scott Murphy has been in office, we have taken on hundreds of billions of dollars - unprecedented levels of spending. And they're now talking about increasing the Constitutional debt limit so we can borrow more, and I think people have had it on those fronts."
In his fourth term as Queensbury Supervisor, Stec is Chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors Finance Committee.
Although he is still only mulling his candidacy, Stec is already doing his best to label Murphy as a rubber-stamp Democrat who is in lockstep with the Congressional Democratic leadership.
"Scott Murphy votes the party line and does what Nancy Pelosi tells him too," Stec said. "He voted against health care because they had the votes and in my estimation he voted against it because they told him he could."
But Murphy said that he voted against the House Health Care Reform plan because it would have increased the cost-burden on local businesses.
However, Stec said that Murphy was only allowed to do so by the Democratic leadership so that he wouldn't torpedo his own re-election bid.
He noted that the recent upset victory of Republican Scott Brown in the race for the U.S. Senate seat - vacated by the death of Democratic luminary Ted Kennedy - signals the rejection by moderates and independents of the Democratic agenda spearheaded by President Barack Obama and House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
And for Stec, the race would come down to two topics, he said.
"If I run, it will be an issues campaign and it will center on fiscal issues and health care," Stec said. "There are other issues that I'm sure we disagree on, but the two big issues of the day right now are the level of debt and spending that's going on in Washington and the direction of where health care is going."
According to the state Office of the Comptroller, Queensbury was the largest town in the state without a town tax last year and Stec said that this is proof of his fiscally conservative values.
Just 40 years old, Stec is a former U.S. Navy Officer and has Bachelors and Masters degrees in Business Administration.
He said that he has recently met with two county party chairmen and several regionally influential Republicans and thus far has heard pledges of support from Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward and others.
Stec said that he plans on making his final decision about his potential candidacy by early spring.
At this point, he is the first Republican to announce interest in challenging Murphy for the Congressional seat.