October 24, 2021

Republican candidates, supporters travel through county

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

A Brockway truck leads the Trump Train on Saturday in Willet during the Trump Train event sponsored by the Cortland County Republican Committee. Republican candidates for local and state elections traveled around the county Saturday and gave short speeches and spoke with voters.

John Van Dee of Homer had been a Democrat since he first registered to vote at 18, he said Saturday as he participated in a mobile rally supporting a slate of Republicans in the upcoming election.

Leading up to the 2016 election, however, the 55-year-old grew disappointed in the party for its lack of respect toward Donald Trump. He voted for the then-Republican nominee, the first Republican he had voted for.

Van Dee said he voted for Trump because he thought Trump was the best candidate for the position.

“That’s what it’s all about: voting for the person who is right for the job,” he said.

Van Dee and others showed their support for Trump during the Trump Train event sponsored by the Cortland County Republican Committee. Starting in Marathon, Republican candidates running for state and local elections gave short speeches and spoke personally with attendees before getting on the Trump Train caravan, led by a restored Brockway truck with American and Trump flags.

Candidates included:

  • Claudia Tenney, who faces Rep. Anthony Brindisi in the 22nd Congressional District.
  • Peter Oberacker, who faces Jim Barber in the 51st state Senate District.
  • John Lemondes, who faces Dia Carabajal in the 126th state Assembly District.
  • Patrick Perfetti, who is uncontested for county district attorney.

Van Dee said he was there with his wife, Lisa Van Dee, to meet and learn more about the other candidates.

“I think we’ve got some new people stepping in and that’s what we need,” he said.

Van Dee said he specifically wanted to speak to the candidates to get their stances on gun control and learn how he can help get them elected.

“As long as they have our voice and stand behind the people, I think they’ll do a great job,” he said.

Marcus Chilson of Marathon said he liked the candidates’ support of law enforcement agencies. He also liked the old school approach of the event.

“We’re getting back to basics,” he said

“I wish there was some way to get this all back so President Trump would know how many people are for him and love him,” said Irene Cook of Willet