Predictions

Senate Democrats, having lost the Jen Metzger 46th state senate seat, will double down on freshman senator Michelle Hinchey after her narrow victory over Rich Amedure. Translation: There will be no Metzger-Martucci rematch in Campaign-22. Under reapportionment, controlled by Democratic super majorities in both houses, Hinchey will be gifted all of Democratically rich Ulster County in addition to left-leaning sections of western Columbia and northern Dutchess. Metzger will be granted  a six-figure job in Albany for short and noble service.  Amedure’s reward, after a credible campaign, will be a safer Republican Orange County district next time.

Democratic hopes of ruling state government with their veto-proof majorities will be dashed time and again by the wily and ruthless Andrew Cuomo. Given the power of the purse, any governor can buy all the legislative votes he or she needs to preserve a veto. Look for the legislature and executive to strike an uneasy balance early in the session.

And speaking of one-man rule, other than Republican Assemblyman Chris Teague (he represents Saugerties), has any legislator asked when the dictatorial (pandemic) powers granted the governor by the legislature last spring will be lifted?

Junior Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will be spotted somewhere in the Hudson Valley later this year. Lapdog mainstream media will treat her like a returning heroine. If she doesn’t get lost on the way.

Senior Senator Chuck Schumer will visit Ulster County first on his annual 62-county publicity tour through the state. Having done little to improve the lives of upstate residents, he will find that little has changed.

Ulster executive Pat Ryan will be at a loss to equal the 192 press releases he issued last year – announced in a year-end press release, of course – what with the pandemic apparently receding. Ryan gets good marks for keeping the populace informed but will now have to focus on the more mundane business of government.

In a not so radical departure from previous plans, Kingston Mayor Steve Noble will turn Broadway into a bike/pedestrian path. Sagebrush will blow down the old centerline of the city’s once main thoroughfare.

Ulster Supervisor Jim Quigley will wade the Esopus Creek at Lake Katrine (with rubber ducky) in protest to New York City’s “chocolate thunder” water releases. Recall a decade ago former county executive Mike Hein labeled NYC “an invading army” (the man did not lack for hyperbole) after similar sludge fests.

Two-term Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-Rhinebeck, could be the odd man out as reapportionment claims yet another congressional seat in New York. The Empire State, due to outmigration and comparative population increases in the Sunbelt, will lose at least one of its 27 congressional seats, maybe two.   As witnessed by its seven state legislators, Ulster has been something of a dumping ground squeezed between the Capitol District and Westchester.

BY THE NUMBERS – With only about a five percent enrollment increase, Ulster Democrats could claim a 2-1 majority over their fading Republican rivals. As of last month, the board of elections reports 51,707 Democrats in the county, compared to just 28,794 Republicans. What the BOE contemptuously calls “blanks” (non-enrolled voters), total just under 35,000. With that kind of enrollment advantage, one wonders how Democrats hold only a one-vote majority in the 23-member county legislature. Statistically, it should be closer to 15-8, almost a veto-proof legislature.

Not to root for either side, but there may be a glimmer of hope for the beleaguered GOP. The Independence Party lost its place on the ballot last year after failing to reach a minimum vote in the gubernatorial elections. In Ulster, that means some 5,800 enrolled “Indies” are without party. If simulant Republicans hope to have a future in this county, they should be actively seeking those voters. Chances are, however, that Democrats, much more the activist party, will beat them to it.

Next: Brian Rounds, the first Democrat elected county judge since the Great Depression, finished his first year in office this week to generally positive reviews. Rounds, 51, one of the county’s leading defense attorneys, was a courthouse regular long before donning the ermine. Lawyers we talked to cited his keen knowledge of the law, temperament and good ear for both sides of arguments.

Judge Rounds will be our guest on Friday’s 8:05 a.m. Me and Mario show on WGHQ-920 on the dial.