Maybe you don't agree with his politics, but Troy Third District Councilman Pete Ryan is a pretty decent guy. Which may explain why he will not be running for re-election to trouble-plagued body.
Was Ryan wearied by the near-constant in-fighting among Council Democrats, or tired because Democrats promised so much but delivered so little once they took the Council majority? The grind of the Council is believed to have taken a toll on Ryan, but Ryan bowed out gracefully.
Ryan's announcement last week is the latest problem for Democrats hoping to hold on to their majority on the Council after a disastrous 16 months. Ryan's departure creates a hole in the Democratic ticket, but the real problem for Democrats remains the possibility of primaries for at-large seats.
To date, Democrats have four candidates announced for At-Large, including incumbents Clem Campana and John Brown, and former Councilman Keith Rogers and downtown restaurant owner Mike LoPorto. What's worse for Democrats is that some of the candidates seem to be choosing sides between County Boss Tom Wade and popular City Chair Frank LaPosta. An endorsement from LaPosta could help tilt the balance in a Democrat primary for Council.
The candidate problems for Democrats don't end with the Council. Democrats are becoming desperate to attract a candidate for County Executive. Legislator Flora Fasoldt was thought to be interested in the nomination, but just weeks ago, a serious issue regarding political work being done at taxpayer expense in Fasoldt's legislative race was raised. The response from Fasoldt's office was ridiculous, and only adds to Fasoldt's problems due to her heavy-handedness in Sand Lake and unnecessary battle with popular Supervisor Steve Robelotto.
Democrats also have no candidate for County Executive and none for County Clerk, either. They are also having difficulty attracting legislative candidates, with at least two prospective candidates turning down the chance to run because Democrats have almost zero chance of capturing a majority. Indeed, Ryan himself was discussed as a legislative candidate but has told Democrat leaders he will be completely sitting out 2009. And just as Ryan has bowed out of the Council re-election bid, Minority Leader Ginny O'Brien has decided against running for Legislature, and will seek election to the East Greenbush Town Board instead.
The GOP has also opened up a huge fundraising advantage over Democrats. In the crucial January 15 campaign finance filings, Democrats filed with only $12,000 compared to $250,000 by the GOP. And that gap is believed to be even wider, based on a series of Republican fundraisers. Add those fundraising problems to the huge tax increases Democrats have forced on New Yorkers and the picture gets cloudier for county Dems.