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Gilbert officially out of NY21 race

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Joseph M. Gilbert, the former St. Lawrence County Emergency Services director who was one of the first people to announce he was running for Congress in the 21st District last year, is now officially out of the race.

After 11 of the 12 Republican county committees in the district picked Elise M. Stefanik, a former White House policy adviser from Willsboro, to carry their party’s banner in an election that, at the time, pitted a Republican challenger against Democratic incumbent Rep. William L. Owens, Mr. Gilbert and Michael F. Ring moved on to other things.

Mr. Ring endorsed Ms. Stefanik and Mr. Gilbert remained active in his tea party-affiliated organizations and began plans for the “Patriot Institute,” an entity aimed at political reform.

In April, Mr. Gilbert hinted that he may try to submit independent nominating petitions to gain access to the ballot but said Tuesday that he would no longer be pursuing that option.

Mr. Gilbert declared his candidacy in early August, around the same time Ms. Stefanik declared her candidacy. After Mr. Owens announced that he would not be seeking re-election, Matthew A. Doheny, an investment fund manager from Watertown and two-time congressional candidate, announced that he was also entering the race.

Ms. Stefanik defeated Mr. Doheny by a wide margin in a June 24 primary and now moves on to face Democrat Aaron G. Woolf, a documentary filmmaker with a home in Essex County, and Green Party candidate Matthew J. Funiciello, a bakery and cafe owner from Glens Falls.

But for Mr. Gilbert, the process by which Ms. Stefanik was endorsed and elected is part of the problem with the political system.

“In the 12 counties in the district, there are only 6 or 7 people who actually choose who the candidate will be,” Mr. Gilbert said. “That’s the establishment. What needs to be changed is the establishment.”

The Patriot Institute, which has yet to be fully established, is intended to facilitate that change, according to Mr. Gilbert.

“I’m planning to stay involved,” Mr. Gilbert said.

— DPF

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