TROLLING FOR VOTES

As the town of Ulster Supervisor Jim Quigley noted last week, there are few coincidences in politics. Quigley was referring to the breathless news that the county could be some $3 million short on 2019 budget projections. He strongly suggested the timing might have something to do with the April 30 special election for county executive. Imagine politicians attempting to influence elections?

Quigley, only a few months ago widely considered the Republican Party’s best chance to claim the seat vacated by Democrat Mike Hein in February, couldn’t have known that when Chicken Little hit front pages that Gov. Andrew Cuomo was making a rare visit to town this week, for much the same purpose. 

The governor deals in billions, so I suspect this backwater campaign stop is to showcase Democratic Party nominee Pat Ryan for county executive, just eight days before the special election. Not that Ryan, prepared to spend north of $150,000 to crush the hapless Jack Hayes, needs any kind of push at this point. It’s just that a little 11th bump from His Excellency (the governor’s formal title and one that George Washington rejected) can’t hurt. For added spice, Cuomo might even drag along the former executive who now works for him at an obscure state agency. Talk about a two-for. Make that a four-for: the budget scare story sets up the governor’s visit. Or was it just coincidence?

Cuomo is scheduled to appear on the Rondout around noon – no, he will not walk across the Hudson – at the Maritime Museum for an unspecified announcement.  Gubernatorial visits are usually accompanied by multi-million state grants, so palms are sweaty. Could it be a huge grant for the struggling Maritime or for the antiquated, smelly city sewage treatment plant just down the road? These things are kept in strictest secret; we’ll know when he tells us. Quigley, after sleeping through last week’s breakfast candidate forum between Hayes and Ryan, should be front and center when Hizzoner delivers the good news.

PS: Ryan wasn’t mentioned at what was officially an Earth Day event, but the candidate did issue a press release while Cuomo was bloviating announcing endorsements from Chuck Schumer and  Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. Coincidental? Maybe.