The times they are a ‘changing. In a span of less than six weeks, the county executive Mike Hein is headed for Albany, district attorney Holley Carnright to a well-earned retirement and maybe the resurrection of the Saugerties law firm where he and his father practiced. Kingston’s alderman-at-large Jim Noble will have more time with his grandchildren.
Carnright’s announcement on Wednesday that he would not seek a third term after some 40 years in public service came as an initial shock, but on reflection, not so much. The DA had been grooming a successor in first assistant Michael J. Kavanagh for at least a year. ‘Young Mike,” as he’s known around town, is not to be confused with his father, former district attorney and retired supreme court judge E. Michael Kavanagh, but it does remind Republicans of their long-gone glory days.
The young but seasoned Kavanagh is quite capable of restoring that legacy, but like any Republican contemplating county-wide elective office in Demo-Ulster, he faces a stiff challenge in Woodstock lawyer Dave Clegg.
Democrats will decide on county exec among an expanding field of hopefuls when they meet at convention on Feb. 20. No Republican has come forth.
There’s an interesting back story emerging in that campaign. Democrats are prepared to reopen negotiations on the 10-year sales tax agreement between the city and the county, signed into law by Hein and Kingston mayor Steve Noble in 2016. Noble, who some say got snookered by the wily Hein, has nothing to lose and much to gain by agreeing. The carrot is fresh cash for the towns, out of the county’s 88.5 percent share, something Hein would never have approved.
Noble has served long and well as the behind the scenes player adept at bringing contentious aldermen to agreement. His announcement, made public after Noble, the mayor’s uncle, touched bases with party insiders. Quietly, of course.
That leaves one man standing. Will county judge Don Williams follow the stampede out the door, or will he stand and fight? Democrats are convinced they have the next county judge in Bryan Rounds of Ulster. Stay tuned.