Monday, August 24, 2009

Shrewd Move in the County Legislature

County Republicans made a superficially baffling decision in their timing of County Legislator Tony LaFountain's departure from the legislature.

The rules provide that a resigned legislator must be replaced by a person of the departed legislator's political party. Usually the parties try to time it so their appointees to such vacancies have the maximum period of incumbency before they have to face an election for the seat.

Had LaFountain waited another month -- until after about September 20 -- his successor, Penfield Councilwoman Debbie Drawe, would not have had to run for the seat until November of 2010, giving her more than a year of incumbency to run on.  As it is, Drawe must run in this year's election.

This defies conventional wisdom, but makes tremendous sense. Drawe will now run in an election for which Democrats must scramble to find a credible candidate, if they can. It's proven hard for them in this district in the past.

Much more significantly, though, is that this year the County Democratic organization must focus its energy and resources on the seats it thinks it can win. Just one more seat and they take the majority, thereby situating themselves to fulfill their prime directive of making Maggie Brooks's life hell for the next two years. They won't risk blowing it by wasting time in Penfield.

By contrast, if Drawe ran in 2010, hers would be the sole race for County Legislature. Joe Morelle's team could focus all of its efforts for local-level elections on that race alone. Especially if Democrats failed to seize the ring of the legislature's majority this year, the 9th district race in 2010 would have been the Armageddon of county leg. races, commanding attention, support and resources from the Democratic party, its interest groups and fellow-travellers on a statewide level, as the key to the Demos taking Monroe.

Shrewd move.


Allan Blockhead said...

Good posting, Phil. What's your take on the (seriously) contested County Legislature races? Some people are expecting a Robutrad "bomb" to drop right before Election Day, perhaps as part of a plea arrangement by Mr. Marone. Do you think this will happen and, if so, what will be the effect on the tighter Leg races?

Anonymous said...

Dems should not be counting on a "bomb" to win a race of any kind. Tight races are won by the better candidate with the correct stance on the issues that are important to the people. The main stream voter of today is not happy with dirt slinging and nasty politics. These "fed-up with Albany" type of local voters will not let an isolated situation like Morone's sway their vote. If this is what the Dems are counting on, then they deserve to feel the wrath of the voters this November.