Weekly Roundup 1/13 – 1/19

Antonio Here! What about there!

Rep. Antonio Delgado packed ’em in at his Clinton Avenue district office on Sunday, despite limited space and bone-chilling weather. The affable congressman expressed some annoyance when a reporter asked him at a press conference why the office wasn’t operational on Day 1 (Jan. 1). “It’s complicated,” he said. “We had to find space, sign leases and get set up and we hadn’t hired staff yet.” Actually, Delgado had from the first week in November and plenty of (campaign) staff to “hit the ground running.” He says he’ll open another district office in Delhi, “by the end of the month.”

Clearly a wordsmith, the Harvard-educated lawyer, has used the words, forego, withhold and abeyance to explain his refusal to take salary during the federal shutdown. Different strokes to different folks – half of federal workers are furloughed, the rest are screwed. Delgado will get his pay back when the stoppage ends. It comes to about $480 a  day. I admire Delgado’s modesty. “I’m in the state Division One basketball hall of fame,” he told his audience. “That’s upstate Division one.” The 6-4 Cornell forward was a two-way star. He could go left or right.”

The chamber of commerce announces that Rep. Antonio Delgado, chained to his desk in Washington, will take a pass on addressing next Thursdays’s monthly breakfast at the Best Western in Kingston. Outgoing county executive Hein, always ready with a few kind words about himself, replete with graphs and charts, will fill in. Other than political endorsements later in the season, this could be Hein’s last hurrah as a local official. 

They like J.J. 

They’re dancin’ in Shandaken after Gov. Cuomo’s announcement that he’s replacing Buffalo’s Byron Brown as state Democratic committee chair with Nassau County chairman Jay Jacobs. Jacobs is the long-time owner of Camp Timberlake near Shandaken, a frequent weekender and summer regular. 

Does this mean “Buffalo billions” for Shandaken or even a workable sewage treatment system for Phoenicia? No. But it never hurts to have the governor’s ear. More noteworthy, perhaps is the governor’s shift from the shores of Lake Erie to the Catskills. Maybe we’ll be seeing more of King Andrew on his Harley next summer…

As most party chairpersons are creatures of their respective governors, Jacobs place in Democratic pecking order should be somewhere behind legislative leaders. He’ll retain his Nassau chairmanship where Democrats have made impressive gains in recent elections. In any event, the chairman serves at the pleasure of the governor, which Brown could attest, isn’t always pleasant. 

Meanwhile, Jacobs’ opposite number, GOP chairman Ed Cox has refused to step down after another disastrous election cycle. Nixon’s silk stocking son-in-law swears he’ll serve out his term through September, despite calls from numerous county committees to resign. His worst political sin, other than losing almost every competitive election last year: was abject failure to raise campaign money for gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro of Dutchess, outspent by Cuomo by something like 100 to 1. 

Where goeth Zephyr?

In the twilight of my checkered journalism career, I have taken a solemn oath to follow candidate d’jour Zephyr Teachout wherever she may go. Rumor has it she may be packing her bags again.

A few years back, I predicted that Teachout, after moving from Dover to Rhinebeck would continue her westward ho! to Ulster. Sources close to Rip Van Winkle have Teachout and family (she and her husband welcomed a baby last fall) scouting property around the town of Olive. Could Teachout, like almost every other ambitious Democrat in Ulster, be running for county executive?

Teachout began her quest for elected office with a credible run against Andrew Cuomo in the 2014 Democratic primary. Carrying almost every county upstate, propelled her to the Democratic Party nomination for congress in 2016.  She lost by only about 10 points in what was generally a Republican year. Last year, she ran for attorney general in a Democratic primary, finishing a disappointing third. 

As water tends to seek its level, is county executive on Teachout’s ever-wandering mind? I hope so; she’s the essence of drive and enthusiasm.

I can’t say one way or the other whether Teachout is in fact a candidate. Parenthood tends to change people’s priorities.  Efforts to reach the would-be and perennial candidate were in vain. 

Executive Business

Another contender, former congressional candidate Pat Ryan, pledges to hold office hours in all 20 towns, the city and villages if elected. He should not schedule Hardenburgh (population: 238) in mid-winter. Denning  Borrowing a phrase from his congressional campaign, Ryan notes that Ulster is the same size as Rhode Island. Big (small) deal. The 19th CD is the same size as Connecticut and Rhode Island, about 5,000 square miles. 

Gareth Rhodes, another former congressional candidate, and one of the first to announce for executive, dropped out last week, while Patrice Strong, a state senate candidate, announced. Strong ran, well, strong, in Ulster against entrenched Republican incumbent Lonesome George Amedore, carrying her portion of the county by some 7,000.  The 24,000 votes she polled here could form the base for a county-wide race, should the gods decree. 

Kingston Mayor Steve Noble, running for a second term, but a few months short of the grand announcement, says he’s not running for executive. That leaves only about 100,000 adults in the county who haven’t announced yet.