Sheriff Jack Mahar, in a letter to Rensselaer County Chairman John Rustin, said he will not run for a fourth term and instead “enjoy his retirement.”
Now that Mahar’s decision is made, focus is turned to who the major parties will support. Top of the list for the GOP is Pat Russo, a former Troy cop and Mahar’s undersheriff.
Russo has not officially indicated whether or not he will seek the nomination but Bob Ashe, the Hoosick Falls police chief and former North Greenbush Town Board member has also announced his intention to run and has started a Facebook page.
Ashe lost a primary to Mahar in 2003 and appears to be gearing up for a run whether or not he gets the party’s endorsement or not.
Two Troy police captains, John Cooney, who was the public information officer, and Terry Buchanan, who headed the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau, were considering running for sheriff and undersheriff, respectively, but have since abandoned the notion. Cooney , who would be the only name on the ballot, is a registered Conservative so he would need permission from a major party to be a viable candidate.
It’s unclear who the Democrats will nominate too. Gary Gordon, who lost a bitter battle to Mahar four years ago, has yet to decide if he will run.
While Russo's record is unblemished, Mahar did have a tough three years-plus in office. He and the county are facing a handful of civil suits related to allegations staff inappropriately and illegally accessed the medical records of political foes and others.