James O’Donnell to Challenge Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney
Republican leaders from the 18th Congressional District gathered Wednesday night to choose a candidate to challenge incumbent Sean Patrick Maloney, the Putnam County Democrat.
The Republican leaders met in Poughkeepsie to select from a field of candidates including Sakima McClinton, a West Point graduate from Poughkeepsie, NYPD officer Jarred Buchanan from Putnam Valley and James O'Donnell, Orange County Legislature Majority Leader. At the start of the convention, Buchanan and McClinton both withdrew their names from the race, vowing to not trigger a primary and throw their support behind O'Donnell. That move was applauded by the one hundred committee members in the room.
O'Donnell is a seasoned government official who had a long and storied career with the New York State Police that started in 1974 and ended when he retired as Lieutenant Colonel of the organization in charge of all uniform members. Upon his retirement, he was named Chief of the MTA Police Department and was in that position when terrorists attacked the county on September 11, 2001. O'Donnell also served as Orange County's Deputy County Executive during the Diana administration after which he ran for and won a seat on the Orange County Legislature. He currently serves on that body as the Majority Leader.
During his acceptance speech, the father of eight cited several reasons that a Republican needs to be elected to the seat including what he claims as Congressman Maloney's inaction to improve the nation's security against foreign threats. O'Donnell claims to have approached Maloney on three occasions with a plan to expand the "See Something, Say Something" campaign and has seen no response.
O'Donnell also mentioned several other planks of his platform including plans to increase school safety by directly linking school cameras to police departments and 911 centers because according to him, "the safety of our children is paramount." Immigration according to the nominee needs to be addressed through a merit-based system and term-limits need to be instituted in both houses of Congress to make the officeholders more accountable.
Democrats were targeted during the speech when as O'Donnell cited the recent successes of Wall Street and claimed that "the Democrats will do everything they can to slow down the economy." The candidate also declared that Republicans need to maintain a majority in Washington in order to "continue the successes of the first thirteen months of the Trump administration."