Can Bill Tassone mend the fences in county GOP?

While he's proud of being involved in those major races, Tassone also points to his work on the town level. He was chairman of the Salina Republicans in the early-1990s, then served on the Clay committee for five years before returning to Salina where he's now vice-chairman under Joe Falge.

In town wide races, Tassone said, "I've taken a lot of brand new candidates and helped make them winners, candidates who actually beat incumbents, which people say is impossible."

He counts among his success stories Salina Justice Andy Piraino, former Salina Town Supervisor Dave Utt and former Salina Town Councilor Kathy Rapp (who's now a county legislator).

Last year, he managed his wife's campaign for county legislature as Judy Tassone defeated incumbent Democrat Dave Stott by a narrow margin. She now represents the 4th District, which includes Liverpool, in the county legislature.

This year, Tassone's heavily involved in the campaigns of congressional hopeful Ann Marie Buerkle and Assembly candidate Rick Guy.

Joanie seeks party support

The DeSpirito-Mahoney conflict started when she began campaigning for county executive in 2007. Under DeSpirito's leadership, the county committee forced her to run a primary against their designee, Legislator Dale Sweetland. She and DeSpirito have had little contact since. Now the county's first-ever woman executive hopes that the party machinery will rev up her next campaign.

"I have to run again next year," Mahoney told YNN on Sept. 13, "and I've basically been shut out of the local party and had to get here on my own three years ago, and I would really like to be part of the party process next year."

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