Legislature minority leader Ken Ronk seems to have worked himself in a lather over this Jim Maloney vacancy business in calling rival Democrats’ actions “despicable.” Working himself into a frustrated fury, the short-fused Republican might have even thpit out “dethpicable! Shades of cartoon canary Tweety Bird. Democrats, of course, had already owned the word “deplorable”.
Launching that far over the top can only mean that Republicans, down 12-10 after Maloney’s death last month, won’t have the votes at special session Thursday night to prevent former Legislator Brian Cahill from assuming the late Maloney’s seat until the end of the year.
Give Ronk, the former chairman, credit for at least trying to swing public opinion his way, even if going public is truly the last refuge for politicians unable to make deals behind closed doors. Pointing out that Democrats themselves had refused to fill the comptroller vacancy with either of their candidates for comptroller prior to their convention last June because they were candidates! spoke to hypocrisy, he said. But then legislature chairwoman Tracey Bartels, who unseated Ronk in January, countered neatly by reminding Tweety that at the time, neither Lisa Cutten or March Gallagher had been formally nominated, like Cahill. Gallagher prevailed at convention and Cutten is now the Republican candidate for comptroller.
Legislative Republicans, eschewing “hypocrisy,” (at least this time) refused to endorse their nominee, Andi Turco Levin, in offering Brenda Maloney, Maloney’s widow, to fill the vacancy. But without the votes, that’s just so much blather.
It remains to be seen how much this “leg up” profits Cahill in the fall elections. Given the level of grief in Ulster over the popular Maloney, me ‘thinks he’s probably lucky this kerfuffle about dead man succession took place in August than in October.