Green Party candidate to campaign in Lake Placid

LAKE PLACID – Green Party candidate Matt Funiciello will visit the Olympic Village on Friday, part of an increase in campaigning he has planned for the summer months now that the Republican primary is over.

From 6 to 8 p.m. he will stop by for a meet- and-greet at the Green Goddess Natural Market, 2051 Saranac Ave.

Funiciello, 46, owns a bakery and a cafe in Glens Falls. He works full-time running the business, and this is a busy time for it. He said he often works 12-hour days.

“I’m actually working more hours now than previously,” Funiciello told the Enterprise Wednesday. “And that’s going to probably continue for the next three weeks.”

He said he plans to travel the district more in July, making a few campaign stops a week.

“I’m in the process of transitioning most of my business over to the people who work for me,” Funiciello said. “That’s a long-term intent.”

Elise Stefanik won big over Matt Doheny in Tuesday’s Republican primary, and Funiciello said he kind of saw that coming, “based on the amount of television advertising money spent by (American) Crossroads and other PACs.” He said he doesn’t watch television and therefore didn’t see much of the campaign ads, “but I know from watching other elections that a lot of voters seem to respond to them.”

Funiciello said he hopes voters in the general election will learn about the candidates more from print media reporting than from TV ads.

Doheny, 43, a Watertown-based investor, blamed the super PAC-funded ads for his defeat. Stefanik, 29, of Willsboro, is a former staffer for President George W. Bush. She also has the Conservative Party line on the Nov. 4 general election. Doheny has secured the Independence Party line.

Stefanik’s challenge now is to unite the GOP faction that supports Doheny. Funiciello hopes Doheny stays in the race.

“That would be good for us all,” Funiciello said with a laugh that acknowledged it would be good for his candidacy to have the right side of the electorate split.

Nevertheless, he said he’s not worried if it’s a three-way race between Stefanik, Democrat Aaron Woolf and him. He’s said in the past that he has much in common with more Libertarian-style Republicans.

“I think I appeal in a far more meaningful way to Republicans in the district who are tired of being pushed around” by rich campaign donors from outside the district, Funiciello said. His campaign does not accept corporate money. Currently, his campaign has raised close to $7,000. Stefanik and Doheny each had more than 100 times that for the primary alone.

“We’re Adirondackers. We’re New Englanders,” he said. “I don’t think we respect people in suits coming and spending millions of dollars to tell us what to think.”

Funiciello differs with Republicans on some issues, like raising the minimum wage. He supports a $15 minimum wage and said there should not be a small business exception, even for his own bakery, which he’s admitted pays some workers less than $15 an hour.

He said he is also “disgusted by the Obama agenda,” which could bring him some disenchanted Democrats.

“I don’t see any substantial differences between it and the administration of George W. Bush,” he said.

The Enterprise asked what he would say to a Democrat who feels Funiciello will spoil the race for Woolf.

“I would say the same thing the Democrats always say to us, that you’re spoiling the race for me,” he said. “That’s what I already said to Aaron Woolf.”

Funiciello disagrees with Woolf, the Democratic candidate, on important issues like the new Affordable Care Act. Funiciello supports a single-payer health care system instead, while Woolf would keep the current plan, with some modifications.

“He defends absolutely horrible legislation like the ACA,” Funiciello said. “This is a crushing blow to the working class and working poor in this country.”

Funiciello also does not believe Woolf will be an independent candidate but that he will toe the party line.

“Aaron Woolf is not going to go to Congress and make a big splash; he’s going to be a freshman congressman if he wins,” Funiciello said. “None of us are going to make a big splash. We’re just going to be one more vote that can be bought or sold. My vote’s not going to be bought or sold.”

Woolf has been campaigning with the 21st Congressional District’s current congressman, Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, who plans to retire after this year. On Wednesday he issued a press release proposing to rein in personal benefits for members of Congress; the Enterprise will cover this plan in a separate article.