Rotterdam candidate defends sharing 9/11 conspiracies

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The former Schenectady County sheriff and the current Schenectady County Conservative Party chair are distancing themselves from a candidate for the Rotterdam Town Board.

This comes after candidate Joseph Mastroianni posted memes on Facebook repeatedly saying 9/11 was a lie or an inside job.

James Barrett, the Schenectady County Conservative Party chair, said Mastroianni is running on the Conservative line, but that the group does not endorse him. Barrett says the memes about 9/11 being a lie are "abhorrent." He added that anyone holding these views is "clearly unfit to hold elective office."

Former Schenectady County Sheriff Harry Buffardi wrote a letter to the town of Rotterdam, saying Mastroianni’s posts are appalling, posting claims against all evidence.

NewsChannel 13 reached out to Mastroianni. He clarified that he does believe 9/11 happened, and said he doesn’t think those posts should impact his run for office locally.

“I have questions, other residents have questions about that day, about COVID policy. I don’t think this is anything that disqualifies me or anyone else from running,” Mastroianni said.

He added that he shared the memes on Facebook to promote critical thinking.

Early voting begins Oct. 23.