By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
SCHOHARIE – Chris Tague, Schoharie, 21-month assemblyman in the 102nd District, plans to decide by the end of the week whether he will seeking to succeed state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, in the 51st District.
Calling Seward “a dear friend,” he said he was “distressed by the news” that the 35-year senator has decided not to run again as he continues to recuperate from a cancer diagnosis.
“The most important thing right now is Senator Seward’s health,” he said. “People really know what a great senator he has been.”
Nonetheless, he said in an interview Tuesday, Jan. 21, that he’s “very humbled” by support he’s been receiving from county chairman in the nine-county district, and he is consulting with family and friends before making a final decision “late this week.”
Otsego County Republican chairman Vince Casale said he would support a Tague candidacy. “Chris bring enthusiasm, vigor, all the things you need to be a successful candidate – or representative,” he said.
If Tague decides not to go forward, Casale ticked off three potential candidates from the county board: chairman Dave Bliss, vice chairman Meg Kennedy and the Schenevus representative, Peter Oberacker. “All of them would be good candidates,” he said.
Amy Swan wasn’t immediately available on this matter, but Casale pointed out Oneonta’s Dan Buttermann is seeking an Assembly seat (vs. incumbent Republican John Salka) as a stepping stone to the Senate; perhaps he would go for it directly.
Other leading local Democrats who have the statue to run include two mayors, Oneonta’s Gary Herzig and Cooperstown’s Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch, as well as Tillapaugh’s predecessor, Jeff Katz. (In an email exchange, former Oneonta Mayor John Nader said he’s fully committed to his current position, president of SUNY Farmingdale on Long Island.)
A contested campaign would cost in the neighborhood of $1 million, Casale estimated. “It would be 10 years before it’s open again,” he said.
Tague, while not an Otsego County resident – Seward is a county native – represents four towns in the county: Cherry Valley, Roseboom, Decatur and Worcester.
The 51st District encompasses three counties – Otsego, Schoharie and Cortland – plus pieces of Tompkins, Herkimer, Chenango, Cayuga, Delaware and Ulster counties.
Chris Tague joined the Assembly after a special election April 24, 2018, succeeding Republican Pete Lopez, whom Donald Trump had appointed regional administrator of the EPA.
Elected to a full term that November, he created a bit of a splash New Year’s Day 2019 when he took two vows in SUNY Cobleskill’s Bouck Hall, the first as an assemblymen, than marriage vows with Dana Buzon of Schoharie, his significant other for eight years.
The biography on his website pledged Tague is focusing on “key issues that affect his constituents: access to broadband internet, reducing taxes, providing support for local farmers, and fixing Upstate’s failing infrastructure.”
On graduating in 1987 from Schoharie Central School, where he was student council president, he became a dairy farmer, growing his herd from 25 to 75 cows.
He sold the farm in 1992, joining Cobleskill Stone Products as a laborer, soon winning promotion to foreman, rising to general manager of the entire operation, where he worked until his election to the Assembly.