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Churchill: The 'loyalist' who's sticking with Shawn Morse

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Loyalty. Tom Scarff used the word at least a dozen times during our conversation.

It is the value he places on loyalty, he said, that helps explain his decision to take a difficult and problematic job, one that few people would want. Scarff, you see, is Shawn Morse's campaign manager.

Morse, the mayor of Cohoes, was indicted last month on charges that he used campaign money to fund vacations and home repairs. Morse's arrest followed two years in which he has faced allegations of domestic abuse.

He's running for re-election anyway.

And Scarff, a longtime veteran of Albany politics, isn't hesitating to help.

The day of Morse's arrest, it was Scarff who stood outside the federal courthouse and answered questions on the mayor's behalf. He's bucking the party establishment for a mayor that other Democrats consider too toxic to go near, much less defend.

"I understand better than most what it means to be blacklisted," Scarff said. "I am empathetic and sympathetic. I will stand by Shawn as long as he needs me."


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