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Amy Tresidder can bank on at least a small victory

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She does exist! And she’s a nice lady.

Democratic state Senate candidate Amy M. Tresidder and I sat down for a long talk earlier this week after she met with Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority officials. She took me to task for only trying to call her once last week before I wrote my column and for not telling her what I was up to. I, in turn, told her how disappointed I was that it took me writing a column about her seemingly invisible candidacy for her to get a hold of me.

She explained a few things to me. She is not a pro at navigating the press. She did not realize she should stay in close contact with media outlets in order to level the playing field with her opponent’s media-savvy staff. She wants to run a grass-roots campaign that is focused on people rather than photo ops and does not consider herself to be a typical candidate, so she is not running a typical campaign. She learned a great deal about humility growing up on a dairy farm in Hermon and isn’t very good at talking about herself. Self-promotion is just not something she does.

Mrs. Tresidder told me part of her problem in getting her name out is a lack of funds. She can’t afford to advertise anywhere. She can’t afford to pay staff and must rely on volunteers, all of whom also have lives they are juggling while trying to get her elected. She refuses to go outside the district to raise campaign money. She refused to take money from the state Democratic Committee because she doesn’t want to be beholden to anyone if she wins.

All of the things she told me came from the heart. I know they did. She is a woman who stands on her principles, and she hopes that will help her win votes on Election Day.

I can’t help but feel bad for her. She is obviously not getting enough help with her campaign, and is probably too humble to ask for it. She is realizing at this stage of the game – less than two weeks from the election - that she should have stayed in closer contact with our newspapers so more people can put a face with a name when they walk into the voting booth.

Her opponent sends out news releases every day, sometimes multiple times a day. State Sen. Patty Ritchie can’t sneeze without the press hearing about it. Mrs. Tresidder has sent out a handful of news releases throughout the entire course of her campaign. I can’t think of any state Senate bid that has been successful using a no-news strategy. If anybody out there knows differently, please correct me.

I believe her when she says she has worked very hard to meet as many people as possible across the 48th Senate District. But winning an election has a lot to do with name recognition. Just about everybody up here knows state Sen. Patty Ritchie’s name, even if they have never met her, because her staff works very hard to keep her name in the news.

Unless you grew up with Mrs. Tresidder in Hermon, you probably won’t know who she is unless you happened to stumble across her at one of her campaign stops, just about none of which had been publicly announced ahead of time.

Her heart is in the right place, and her principles are solid. She tells me she is in this race because she feels a sense of civic responsibility and wants to change Albany politics for the better.

You never know. Her principles might be able to make up for a lack of name recognition. The outcome is never certain until the votes are tabulated. But a win on principles alone in state politics is a rare thing.

The main thing I took away from our talk is she gets that, and she is OK with it. And, as she told me, if her being in this race forced the incumbent to work a little harder for the people of the north country, that is a victory in its own right.

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