GOP Convention

“What we have in front of us in an arduous task, to say the least,” Republican district attorney nominee Mike Kavanagh told a GOP nominating convention Saturday morning at Ulster Town Hall.  About 100 persons attended the one-hour session, about a third of what Democrats pulled at their convention earlier that week.

Kavanagh has been chief assistant district attorney under Holley Carnright for the last four year. Nominated by county clerk Nina Postupack. Kavanagh, 48, said it has been his life-long ambition to be Ulster County District attorney, a position held by his father, Michael, for more than 20 years.

“No other candidate is as qualified as I am,” he said in apparent reference to Democratic nominee David Clegg of Woodstock. “We will ask voters to choose experience over politics and that’s how we will win.”

Democrats enrollees outnumber Republicans by about 16,000 in Ulster. GOP party chairman Roger Rascoe said after the convention that he has been in contact with Conservatives Party and Independence Party leaders and expects they will support Kavanagh. Conservatives will meet Monday at 7:30 at Esopus town hall. 

Kavanagh spoke to the personal sacrifice running for county office entails for a young family. “I’ll miss a few soccer matches this summer, some softball games,” he said, turning to his daughters, Regan, 10, and Aislin, 8 and his wife, Jennifer. The family lives in Saugerties.

Kavanagh closed with a shot at Clegg, a trial attorney for some 40 years and a candidate for congress last year. “You have to care about this job. You have to want this job,” he said. “This office can never be a consolation prize,” he said to cheers from the gathering

The convention did not nominate candidates for county executive or county judge, leaving that task to a committee on vacancies. Nominating petitions will begin circulating next week with final submission April 4. Roscoe said he had a “few people interested in those positions.”

The convention also nominated 19 candidates for county legislature, leaving four vacant, as had Democrats.

The only surprise at convention – Kavanagh had declared days before – came with the announcement that the legislature’s senior member, Richard Gerentine of Marlboro, would not seek a 15th term in November. Gerentine, 66, said family considerations lead to his decision. “I lost a brother last year,” he told reporters. “That puts things in perspective.” Alice Tipp of Saugerties served 30 years.

Gerentine was a member of the powerful ways and means committee of the legislature and served as its chairman for most of his tenure He also served as legislature chairman in the mid-2000s.

Marlboro building inspector Thomas Corcoran has been endorsed by town Republicans to succeed Gerentine.