Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mendon Republican Restructuring

Remember where you heard it first!  

Last November, your Mustard Street team offered our analysis of the 2007 elections in our Almanac of Monroe County Politics.   One of our conclusions was that the Republicans in Mendon had become totally out of touch, thereby letting the better-qualified and better-informed Democratic candidates win, despite significantly wider Republican voter enrollment.

Therefore -- no wonder the County Republican Chairman is housecleaning the Mendon Republican Committee.   For those of you who haven't figured it out yet:   that's what political chairs are supposed to do!

Our analysis from last November:


Republicans have a 2 - 1 registration advantage in Mendon. This year those Republicans showed they're happy to vote for Democrats who will give them what they want.

Incumbent Democratic Supervisor Moe Bickwheat is retiring after 4 years in office, leaving an open seat. Republican Jeff Babcock is a lawyer and real estate broker. Democratic candidate Ian McNabb ran a nursery business for many years and has been active civically, most recently as member of the Honeoye Falls Conservation Board. He's a former president of the Honeoye Falls - Mendon Chamber of Commerce.

Mendon's library is aging. Each of the two Democratic candidates for Town Board is a trustee of the Mendon Library. Each supported resolving the issue of whether to build a new library, intimating that they favored it. McNabb took the same position. The incumbent Town Board Republicans weren't so sure. Supervisor candidate Babcock dismissed the need to come to a decision about a new library.

In a singularly regrettable admission for a member of a learned profession, Babcock said that he "rarely uses" the library. Ouch. An admission made not over the bar at Ye Olde Mendon, but to the editorial Board of the Democrat and Chronicle. OUCH!

Is anyone surprised that McNabb took it with 60%?

Shari Stottler and Mark Cottle, Democratic candidates for Town Board, matched McNabb's margin and easily swept aside Republican incumbents Marv Vahue and Pat Freeman, giving Democrats a majority of the Town Board in this 2 - 1 Republican town.

All three Democratic candidates are said to have run a thorough door-to-door campaign, in contrast to their complacent Republican counterparts.

In looking at factors that contributed to Republicans' loss of the Town Board, let's not forget the inexcusably shabby treatment Republican Board members accorded Supervisor Moe Bickwheat back when he took office, not even including him in the Town's swearing-in ceremonies. The two remaining Republicans on Town Board would be well-advised to remember this and not repeat it. They'd be well-advised also to (a) pay attention to issues their constituents consider important, and (b) actually campaign when they run for re-election.

They'd know this already if they spent more time in the library.

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