By Kassie Parisi
CLIFTON PARK — Dale Kelley, a long-time Clifton Park resident who was going to challenge incumbent Town Supervisor Phil Barrett for the position in a primary this fall, has suspended his campaign.
Kelley, who has lived in the town for almost four decades, planned on attempting to override the Clifton Park Republican Committee’s selection of Barrett, who they endorsed unanimously in March. Barrett also won the endorsement of the Conservative and Independent parties. But on Friday, Kelley said that the main reason he decided to end his bid was due to lack of funding.
“I know I’m disappointing people and letting them down, but it’s a choice I have to make,” he said.
Kelley, a New Hampshire native, has past experience in various town government positions. He was elected to the Clifton Park town board in 1989, and served as deputy supervisor from 1992 to 1995.
As of May 26, he explained that the money for his campaign was only “trickling in,” and that he was not confident that he would be able to raise enough to “go up against the big guns,” in the local GOP establishment. He estimated that he would have needed around $25,000 to $30,000 in order to facilitate a viable campaign effort, including flyers and other materials. But Kelley, who just a few weeks ago said that he was prepared to be the underdog in the race, said that he’s now trying to be realistic as possible.
“It’s a hard decision. It has been very difficult for me,” Kelley said, noting that the choice to back out of the race came after a lot of heavy soul searching, and conversations with friends, family, and advisors.
“I’m just getting the sense that people are supportive, but they don’t want to open their wallets and their pocketbooks,” he added.
Despite the abrupt end to his campaign, he insisted that he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Kelley, whose platform included issues such as developing a long-term spending plan for the town, increasing transparency and collaboration, and implementing term limits, said that he continues to believe that Clifton Park has room to grow. Kelley said that he thinks that the town is in good shape overall, but was missing some crucial opportunities for improvement. In the past, Kelley has described the town as “reactionary” and “penny-pinching,” opting to deal with issues as they come up as opposed to crafting a plan in advance.
“I certainly won’t be crawling under a rock,” he said.
He suggested that Clifton Park residents stay vigilant, and involved in town affairs.
“Don’t assume that everything is as rosy as it might seem,” he added.
Kelley affirmed that there is no bad blood between him and the current supervisor, adding that he recently had a conversation with Barrett to wish him the best going forward. Barrett confirmed the conversation, and said that he expressed to Kelley that the town administration is always willing to talk to anyone who has ideas about how something can be improved.
“If anybody has any ideas or ways to improve the town, we’re always eager to receive that input,” Barrett said.