Blind Side Politics

Suppose they held a convention and nobody came? I’m talking about Republican candidates for county executive of which there are still none.

Soooo, county GOP chairman Roger Rascoe has cancelled his party’s special nominating convention in Wallkill, barely a week after he called it. Having lost 148 pounds over the past two years – almost half his original weight – the man they call “Rajah” lost a credible candidate for county executive in less than a week.

The story behind the scenes speaks to fits and starts, hopes and dreams and some back-biting small-town politics. The name Christiana looms large, or it did.

In no particular order, Tiffany Christiana’s “candidacy” for county exec began circulating about two weeks ago. Even if Republicans’ hadn’t been desperate for even a stalking horse for county exec, Christiana’s profile raised hopes. An attractive, relatively young (40) registered nurse with a degree in government, and with easy access to campaign funding in her rarified social circle – her husband cardiologist Joe Christiana reportedly told party leaders he’d back his wife with some serious cash – she might have been just the ticket for Republicans in this year of despair.

Then something very curious happened at the town of Ulster Republican caucus. Tiffany (to distinguish her from Joe) pops up as a candidate for one of two town board seats. And suffers an embarrassing last place finish among four nominees.

It gets better. The plot cooked up by Ulster’s Republican old guard – the guys wearing those red MAGA baseball caps – according to reliable sources, was for Tiffany to reject the nomination for town council and to formally announce at the caucus that she was running for county executive at Rascoe’s special convention in Wallkill.

That this cockamamie scheme wouldn’t work either way apparently didn’t occur to backroom Bozos. If Tiffany wins and withdraws to run for exec, she looks the bounder, raw meat for Democrats. If she loses, which she did, she has no credibility as a county candidate, I mean, if a candidate can’t win a town caucus among 225 fellow Republicans, what chance does that candidate have against fired-up Democrats with six-figure war chests and 18,000 more enrollees?

A red-faced Rascoe will chalk this one up to a lesson in hope over experience; town-level conspiracies can be bewildering. He’ll beat the bushes for another candidate, maybe even a disgruntled Democrat.