Olive Rematch

Kathy Nolan and John Parete will face off again for the legislature in Olive-Shandaken District-22. If past be prologue, as it says over the doors to the Supreme Court, Parete could be in a world of trouble in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

Two years ago, Nolan took 71 percent of the Democratic vote at primary (466-192) against an incumbent who had been county Democratic chairman and legislative chairman. Clearly, Parete had worn out his welcome with Democrats. Not to pick on the Boiceville bar owner, but he wasn’t all that popular with Republicans, either. Cliff Faintych, a former councilman from tiny Denning (population: 551, not counting black bears) beat him by 19 in the GOP primary. Parete made something of a charge in losing the general election to Nolan by 60 votes. Somebody up there likes him, maybe independents.

Some things have changed, which might improve Parete’s prospects. Faintych, after playing spoiler, has left the scene. Parete has the Republican nomination, but in heavily Democratic Olive-Shandaken, that could be more curse than a blessing.

Increasingly militant Democrats treat anybody who accepts Republican support as blood enemy – especially Democratic candidates! –  and will take vengeance at the polls. Parete says he just wants everybody to vote for him. Who doesn’t?

As for profiles, old leopards don’t change their spots. Parete remains the feisty pro-development, pro-lower income housing advocate he always was. Nolan lost her 20-year battle to keep the Belleayre Resort at bay, but still has the backing of an active, engaged environmental community. Questions about Nolan’s residency don’t seem to move the needle.

Nolan stole a march on her opponent in delivering a moving eulogy to the late Edna Hoyt on the floor of the legislature last week. She spoke to having breakfast with 100-year old Edna for 30 years, but not beers with the Boiceville bartender. Neither did she mention that she and the Shandaken icon were fierce opponents of the Belleayre project. Local voters know the score.

I don’t pick winners and losers in primaries; readers think I’m taking sides. But it doesn’t take a weatherman to discern which way the wind is blowing in District-22. Unless there has been some kind of seismic shift, it looks like this rematch will make for a long night for the former legislator.