Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Town of Olive Republican Caucus

I attended the Town of Olive Republican caucus yesterday, the purpose of which was to nominate candidates for Town office. I do not know if this is a national trend, but the meeting was very well attended. There were 70 to 100 people there compared to a usual turnout at committee meetings of ten or fewer.

The issue at hand was whether the Republicans would nominate an incumbent Democrat, Berndt Leifeld, for Town Supervisor on the Republican ticket (Leifeld already runs on the Democratic ticket). Another Democrat also sought the nomination, I suspect as a matter of opposing Leifeld. He had threatened to seek the Republican nomination also unless the nominations were limited to existing Republicans.

This is a kind of paradox. It seems to me that the interest in the Republicans was largely stimulated by a conflict among the Democrats. Someone did say that he had attended because of his concerns about the big government trend in national politics. I am not certain how far that sentiment goes and I am not certain how far the attendance simply reflected interest in the possible conflict between the two Democrats. I think many of the attendees may have been Democrats, but I'm not positive.

In any case voting was closed to Democrats, that is, only Republicans voted, and it seemed to me that about 30 or 40 people voted, which is still a good turnout. Pete Freidel, currently a Town board member, won the nomination for Town Supervisor. As well, the Republicans nominated a full slate of candidates for Town Justice (I recall it was Earla van Kleeck who was nominated), as well as Cindy Johanssen for Town Clerk and the Republican Chair, Chet Scofield, for Highway Supervisor and Don van Buren was nominated as well.

Nina Postupack, the County Clerk, spoke to the meeting. She has done an excellent job at the County level and is one of the highest ranking elected Republicans in Ulster County.

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