Castelli presents his platform for a “moderate party” | New

Democratic congressional candidate Matt Castelli made his strongest statement yet against the assault weapons ban on Monday.

“We do not support an ill-defined assault weapons ban that fails to keep our cops, our children and our communities safe,” he said during a Zoom press conference for publish its “Moderate Party” platform.

Castelli also called for bail reform at the state level and said he opposes ‘defunding the police’ as it tries to attract voters unhappy with the current leadership of the two main political parties.


The campaign also announced the creation of a “Moderate Party of New York” website at “”.

The platform calls for ‘safety and security’, building a ‘strong economy’, abortion rights, gay and transgender rights, mandatory voter verification, securing the United States’ borders, mandatory voter verification, setting term limits for members of Congress, barring members of Congress from trading stocks while in office, and cracking down on unfair trade practices from China.

The written platform, described in a press release, is mostly generalities with few details.

Castelli, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, in the 21st District, said the platform is designed to reach voters who feel “politically homeless” among vocal factions of both political parties.


Castelli said Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and “the Squad” — a group of six progressive House Democrats that includes Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman, both of the Bronx; Ilhan Omar of Minnesota; Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts; Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Cori Bush of Missouri – are extreme Democrats, as are Stefanik and the “Ultra MAGA” on the Republican side.

“There are two sides to the extreme coin,” said Castelli, a former CIA counterterrorism official who lives in Glens Falls.

Castelli’s campaign organized the independent “Moderate Party” line, providing him with a second line of voting in the November general election.

The voting line is for the November election only.

Castelli is the only candidate in the running.

It is not an organized political party and has no leadership outside of the Castelli campaign.


On gun control, the platform says Castelli will “protect and defend the Second Amendment. Support common-sense measures, like universal background checks, that keep our cops, our kids, and our communities safe while protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

Throughout the Democratic primary, which Castelli won with over 80% of the vote, Castelli was criticized by main opponent Matt Putorti because Castelli would not take a stand on an assault weapons ban.

Stefanik’s supporters, such as Republican Warren County Chairman George Ferone, have also accused Castelli of trying to hide his support for an assault weapons ban.

Castelli, at Monday’s press conference, did not have carte blanche to speak out against an assault weapons ban, but appeared to make the strongest statement against it yet.


On public safety, Castelli reiterated that he opposes “defunding the police,” a term that generally means redirecting spending from police departments to other areas such as social workers and community services.

“We will fully fund the police. … Blue lives matter,” he said.

A number of police unions have supported Stefanik.

Castelli, at the press conference, called for changes to New York’s bail law, which many law enforcement officials have criticized as leading to increased crime.

“New York State’s bail reform has become a disaster,” he said, commenting that it is a state, not a federal issue.


Castelli said he was calling for changes because police officers and district attorneys in the Congressional District had told him of their concerns about the bail reform law of 2019 that eliminated cash bail in the most cases.

Asked what specific changes to the law he would recommend, Castelli did not identify any.

Castelli said he has not spoken with Governor Kathy Hochul or state lawmakers in the region about his concerns about bail reform.

When asked if he supports calls by Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin and New York Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat, for the Legislature to immediately convene a special session to discuss reform of bail, Castelli said he would leave that to the Legislative Assembly.

The Stefanik campaign said Castelli appears to have changed his stance on bail reform, citing a comment Castelli made at the Otsego County town hall forum in August, in which Castelli spoke generally about bail reform. concern that the law is geared more towards New York City. area, without specifically asking for changes to the law.

“We may not have as much of a threat facing communities down the state that bail reform can be an effective solution and I’m not sure I should experience the down of the state to talk about it, but I really wish we had a louder voice representing upstate communities when any of these laws are considered that affect us at the state level,” said Castelli at the time.

The Castelli campaign, contacted to respond, said Castelli had always opposed the bail reform law of 2009.

“This (remark) is clearly taken out of context,” the Castelli campaign said in a statement.


Castelli said at the press conference that he was a registered independent for much of his adult life.

He said he voted for Republican presidential candidate John McCain in 2008 and Democrat Barack Obama in 2012.

The Stefanik campaign said Castelli is not a moderate.

“This downstate Democrat is desperately trying to trick voters into posing as a moderate. … Voters are smart, which is why every law enforcement union backed Congresswoman Stefanik and why exactly no law enforcement union backed her opponent,” said Alex DeGrasse, senior adviser to Stefanik.