Thursday, September 25, 2008

Threats and More Threats

Tom Wade got re-elected as Chairman of the Rensselaer County Democrats, just two weeks after he got pounded in the September 9 primaries.

What is emerging is that Wade got re-elected by doing what Wade does best: Issuing threats, bluster and bullying, and, well, more threats.

Wade had a rival for the chairman's post until early this week. Steve Green, a respected grassroots organizer whose guy Mike Russo clobbered Wade's candidate Brian Premo in the Dem primary for the 43rd Senate District nomination. Green halted his challenge this week, but in an exit interview with the Times Union, hinted at some Terrible Tom Tirades. Threats against other candidates, temper tantrums, the usual stuff.

Count on Green coming back and challenging for leadership in the future.

Wade started as chairman by allegedly threatening Democrat employees at the Board of Elections, ordering them to pay a percentage of their salaries. The grand jury investigation into that got stopped by Democrat District Attorney Rich McNally when he took office. He gets re-elected on the back of some new threats of retaliation. We hear Wade threatened to sabotage Russo's campaign in Rensselaer County to strike back at a Green challenge and to move against Kirsten Gillibrand, who has ties to both Russo and Green.

A party chairman is supposed to support his candidates, and instead, Wade begins his new term ready to wage war against his own. The only "victory" Wade could claim was winning the Democrat nomination for State Supreme Court for Democrat Pat McGrath by only two votes – against a Republican, Tony Carpinello. Beating a Republican for a Democrat nomination – by only two votes – is a victory?

Green was a late-comer to the leadership quest. After getting beaten so badly in the Sept. 9 primaries, Democrats were loudly whispering about getting a new chair. Trouble was, Lynne Mahoney, who Wade rolled over to win his first term, is out of the running because of her new job with Gov. Paterson's administration. The anti-Wade faction had little time to amass their forces. But the discontent and distrust about Wade are definitely still there.