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Unendorsed GOP incumbents put to test in Brant primaries

Republican primary elections in the Town of Brant include a pair of incumbents who did not receive the party’s endorsement.

Highway Superintendent Joseph Giambrone voiced outrage about the party’s decision not to endorse him after he has served in the part-time position for 31 years.

The party also did not endorse another Republican, Councilman Donald Clark, in his bid for re-election. Voters will go to the polls Thursday.

“That’s a very nasty thing the Republicans did to me and Don Clark,” he said.

Giambrone, 75, accused party leaders of becoming too political.

“The committee thinks they can do anything they want,” he said.

He faces a challenge from William Friend, 57, an iron foreman for Contour Steel and part-time farmer. The party’s town committee chose not to endorse a candidate.

Because Giambrone has held the post for such a long time, Carmen Vacco, the town’s Republican chairman, believes that GOP voters deserve a choice.

“I feel it’s a fair way to go to let the public decide who they want,” he said.

Vacco described Giambrone as a “likable guy” who had never encountered serious opposition. He also expressed a preference for someone new. “I think it’s time a younger person takes over,” he said.

While on construction projects, Friend sometimes works for weeks in the Corning, Binghamton or Rochester areas. If he becomes highway superintendent, he plans to reduce his construction work and devote more time to his farm, where he raises beef cows, keeps chickens for eggs and meat, owns honeybees, and grows apples, pears and grapes.

As highway superintendent, his commute would take him to the building across the street.

“That will keep me closer to home,” he said.

Friend described Giambrone as a friend but added that residents have experienced some problems with him. “I’ve heard a few complaints about him, nothing major,” he said.

He also carries the Conservative Party endorsement, and there is no Democratic candidate.

Vacco believes that Clark betrayed the party in 2013 when he ran on the Democratic line in an effort to unseat Supervisor Leonard Pero, a Republican.

“I really don’t want to get into that,” Vacco said.

For a pair of Town Board seats, Republican voters may choose among Councilman Chad Kaczmarek, Clark and Janice Ross, a homemaker making her first run for office in the town. Kaczmarek is the only endorsed candidate.