Around the horn

Around the Horn

Seward takes retirement – As predicted herein a few weeks ago, veteran Republican state senator Jim Seward, 68, will not seek reelection to an 18th term in the 51st district. The district includes the Ulster County towns of Olive, Shandaken, Rochester and Hardenburgh and all of Delaware County.

Seward cited health reasons for his retirement in an announcement this week, but that’s not the whole story. Only two years ago, one of the “lords” of the Republican senate, Seward served in the minority last year and it wasn’t much fun being outnumbered 40-23. Eight other GOP elders are also headed for the door, with not much talent waiting in the wings.

May I suggest the pride of Roxbury, would-be Republican candidate Tony German for Seward’s seat? German, a career military officer, found out the hard way that running for congress in the sprawling 19th congressional district takes money and staff and he didn’t have much of either.

In the criminal justice system – Maybe I’ve been watching too many episodes of TV’s Law and Order?

With all the pomp and circumstance attendant to the inauguration of a new district attorney, joyous Democrats packed the county courthouse last week to formally welcome Woodstock’s David Clegg to the office he won by a scant 78 votes.

Probably the most relieved among the 200 invitees was freelance photographer Gloria Waslyn. It was her photo of convicted felon and community activist Ismail Shabazz shaking hands with Clegg in a widely distributed George Soros political flyer that almost cost Clegg the election. Lifted off the web by Soros staff, neither Waslyn nor Clegg had any idea it could wind up on peoples’ doorsteps two weeks before the election. Of note, Shabazz, dressed in traditional African garb, was standing in the rear of the county courtroom as the new district attorney promised safety with compassion and restorative justice.

This election for the ages is now the subject of sport. For instance, assemblyman Kevin Cahill, one of his party’s leading wits, got huge laughs in “announcing” that he’d just heard that the board of elections had found several hundred more votes yet to be counted.

City Republican Party has a pulse. Barely

Young John Quigley has been elected the fourth Republican chairman in the past five years, conjuring images of Gen. Custer, the Titanic and New York’s two pro football teams. At last count, there were perhaps 15 Republican committee members; a full committee is 52.

Republicans haven’t won an election for mayor since 1991, the last year they held a majority in the Common Council. Last year’s city elections produced not a single Republican win out of 14 offices. Many were uncontested. Republicans are currently outnumbered by more than almost 3 to 1 by rival Democrats. There are fewer than 2,000 registered Republicans in a city with over 14,000 enrolled voters.

Only 28, Quigley is no novice at this game of politics. The son of town of Ulster supervisor Jim Quigley, the younger Quigley has run for county legislator and has been active in county-wide races.  He brings tech savvy and pragmatic optimism to a daunting task.