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Sweetland ready to run for Congress

When Jim Walsh announced he would not seek an eleventh term representing the 25th Congressional District a gaggle of Republicans floated their names as possible contenders, but only three carried any creds to the table. It seemed former State Fair Director Peter Cappuccilli's to lose until he dropped out for health reasons. When Common Councilor Ryan McMahon stepped aside to avoid splitting the county's vote {Onondaga make up 65 percent of the district} the way was clear for former County Legislature Chair Dale Sweetland, who received 94 percent of the county committee's weighted voting.

Last week Sweetland's major opponent, Wayne County state Assembly Member Bob Oaks, along with Walsh endorsed him at a Clinton Square press conference. Before the committee met Sweetland had released a poll conducted by Jeff Stonecash of 405 likely voters showing him and Democrat Dan Maffei {who lost to Walsh two years ago, neck and neck with about 36 percent each. Although Sweetland said that contributions have been coming since he won the designation, perhaps a more telling statistic was released earlier this spring showing him starting out with $0 in his campaign fund compared to Maffei's $855,000.

The Q and A:

When you got the Onondaga County Republican Committee designation for Congress, you said your job would be to get out in the district and show people you were just like them. Is that why you shaved your beard?

No. I told my wife and kids on Christmas Day that I was going to shave my beard. They asked why. I said because it was getting too many different colors and it isn't doing it everywhere. I would walk by a mirror and think I had gouged myself when I trimmed the beard. Then I'd touch it and it would be hair, but a different color. So I was going to shave it anyway. Then my daughter, who is 32, said Christmas Day, that I might want to wait until spring, when you can get some color in your face, otherwise it might be pretty white under there. I thought that was good advice, so I did it for my birthday, March 29. Then I announced on April 3 that I would run for Congress.

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