Seeking Synergy

Lisa Cutten’s thoroughly predictable emergence as the Republican candidate for county comptroller was seen in some quarters as oh-so cleverly contrived by GOP leadership. Or was it just another case of necessity being the mother of invention?

As noted herein, Cutten, after being stomped 64-36 at the June Democratic nominating convention by March Gallagher, had no place to go. Especially after being summarily fired from her county auditing by county executive Pat Ryan five days later.

Republicans had dangled their nomination in front of both candidates prior to that nominating convention, as in, if you lose, we’re here for you. Both publicly insisted they would not accept said endorsement. A week before their own nominating convention, what else could they say? Which is to say Cutten’s parsing of what she said or didn’t say at the time has that Nixonian ring of “what you thought I said wasn’t what I really meant.” Career bean counters are usually more straightforward.

But it appears the GOP has bigger fish to fry in the fall elections. Cutten, if only from the results of the Democratic convention where two-thirds of committee members voted against her, would seem a very long shot. But this is to view the glass as half empty.

What Cutten brings to the fray is a credible, living, breathing Republican candidate where none existed before. And while fellow Democrats rejected her record, a major party candidate for comptroller with a CPA degree and decades of government accounting experience will draw votes. Maybe lots of votes.

This could have synergetic effects in providing cover for the only competitive candidate on the GOP roster, Mike Kavanagh for district attorney. Before Cutten took the Republican nomination, Kavanagh was pretty much hanging out on a limb by his lonesome. There is no contest for county judge and only token resistance for county executive. Cutten on the ballot will give Republicans – and more importantly, uncommitted independents –another reason to vote. And that can only accrue to Kavanagh, who faces an uphill battle against Democratic nominee Dave Clegg.

It is no giant leap to predict that Democratic politics, here and afar, will be very much at the fore in November. As such it is perhaps no coincidence that off recent press releases, Cutten will be running against Gallagher as much as the Democratic establishment that she concludes defeated her handily at a rigged convention. Holy Hillary-Bernie-16!

Democratic elections commissioner Ashley Dittus attempted to put that base canard to rest in a July 26 press release that almost nobody printed. Calling Cutten’s reference to Democratic “malfeasance” (Dittus meant misfeasance) “cynical,” the future Democratic chair in a typical political fashion, accused Republicans of being worse in their selection process of Cutten. Dittus, a hands-on elections commissioner, knows better. Democrats had months to grease the wheels for Gallagher at the convention.  Republicans had only days to designate their fill-in candidate via the executive committee process.

Gallagher, pandering to her base like everyone else these days, weighed in by accusing Cutten of using “Trump” tactics (of divide deceive and demean). As the campaign will not start in earnest until after Labor Day, may I get a word in here? Please! We are fed up to here with Trump comparisons. This is a local election. Home-grown hacks in both parties are more than capable of deception, deceit, and skullduggery on their own.

In the meantime, at the risk of waxing premature, let’s say the fall elections have gotten more interesting.