Not to get inside his head, but I wonder if outgoing county executive Mike Hein will appreciate the irony of standing in for Congressman Antonio Delgado at Thursday’s chamber of commerce breakfast in Kingston when he could have been the congressman himself. Probably not. Hein has made his bed in Albany.
But he coulda’ been a congressman! He was this close.
Recall, after six months of will he or won’t he, Hein announced his decision not to run for congress in mid-2016. For a while, it seemed the nomination was his for the taking. At the time, 2016, no other name was being mentioned as an opponent for first-term (and, as it turned out, one-term) Republican John Faso. Without Hein ever mentioning his intentions publicly, the boomlet gathered steam. All 11 county chairs in the 19th district announced their support in November of 2015, following Chris Gibson’s announcement that he would not be a candidate for reelection the following year. A month later, Hein first announced he was not a candidate. What followed was a seven-way primary, which Hein, with his Ulster base, might have easily won, or so says hindsight. But maybe there was something in that Beltway calculation that gave Delgado a better chance. These secrets go to the grave.
Delgado, after winning the primary and general election, was invited by the Chamber to kick off its 2019 breakfast series at the Best Western. Congressional duties in Washington forced the last-minute Hein substitution.
Hein as speaker will be wearing not one, but three hats. Will he speak as Hein the outgoing executive, Hein the future state bureaucrat, or Hein the advance man (fill-in) for Delgado? I predict all three, giving new meaning to the term political schizophrenia. But mostly, I predict, he’ll talk mostly about Hein. This event among friends, family and staffers, will launch the Hein nostalgia tour, repeat with rose-colored glasses of ten years of challenge and progress. It will culminate with the annual executive birthday party funds from which will purchase a new Cadillac for those daily commutes to Albany.