Waller joins race for 21st Congressional district

A fourth Republican plans to run for New York’s 21st Congressional District, but not through the party chairs.

Jamie Waller of Lake Pleasant told the Enterprise he will be a candidate, although he admits to being a long shot.

He is currently working in Texas, but in March he plans to begin collecting signatures for a petition to get himself on the Republican ballot. The signature deadline is June 24. He needs 1,250 signatures to get on the ballot.

The 28-year-old started out in politics running for Hamilton County election commissioner, which he lost. Waller said he is a former paid staffer of Rick Santorum’s 2012 presidential campaign.

Waller does not expect to get the GOP endorsement. Bill Osborne, chairman of the Hamilton County GOP, told him Elise Stefanik was going to be their pick, Waller said.

“Bill made it clear in November Elise was almost a shoe in for endorsements, by most or all 12 counties,” he wrote.

Osborne, contacted by the Enterprise, did not confirm or deny whether Stefanik will be the GOP chairs’ pick, which they are set to decide Friday. Osborne said Waller was joining the race late but that he’s a bright guy.

“I had more than one conversation with (Waller) and indicated how the process works,” Osborne said.

That hasn’t deterred Waller. He spent four years serving as a U.S. Marine.

“My service in the Marines instilled in me a sense of responsibility for my actions,” he said.

Waller was born in Summit, N.J., and later moved to Speculator, in Hamilton County in the southern Adirondacks. He moved to nearby Wells in 2013 and bought an abandoned ski hill, although he said he’s not yet sure what he’s going to do with it.

He said the geographic size of the 21st District makes it hard for communication within the party. Waller believes a Republican debate on the issues concerning the North Country would help people connect and would improve his chances to win.

“I want to encourage open dialogue,” he said. “I mean, I can go on Elise’s website, but that doesn’t give me a good idea of who she is.”

He said he is a conservative who stands for limiting the power of government and cutting costs.

Waller said he is fine with the idea of not winning the race as long as he can further his conservative principles.

The people need to keep their politicians honest and accountable, he said.

“Same goes for every one of your elected officials all the way from town supervisor to state Assembly to U.S. Congress to your president,” he wrote. “They are your representatives; they work for you.”