The battles between Democrats begin for real this week. And the question is how many will be defying party Boss Tom Wade.
Last week, Wade issued a controversial order postponing the carrying of nominating petitions. While the first day for collecting petitions is June 9, Wade ordered that no nominating petitions for Democrats can go out until a party meeting is held June 15.
The petition postponement is seen as an attempt by Wade as a last-ditch attempt to save face after his dismal performance in selecting candidates for the upcoming fall elections. Currently, Democrats have no candidate for County Executive and County Clerk and one of the party's weakest slates for County Legislature in memory. We'll know next week if Wade's delay produces any better candidates.
However, Wade's hijacking of the candidate selection process has already created major battles in the fractured party. Wade shut popular City Chairman Frank LaPosta out of the selection process, and picked a slate of relative unknowns dubbed the Ticket Fillers by one well-known Democrat. In response, LaPosta and his ally Dan Doran, a former Troy Councilman, will be running primaries.
Wade also threw some sharp elbows in the selection of a Family Court judge, and forced the selection of controversial attorney Richard Hanft. In response, Hanft will be facing a primary from former Troy Councilwoman Beth Walsh. And a third candidate, Gerri Pomerantz of East Greenbush, will also be running for the party's nod for the judgeship.
You can be sure that LaPosta, Doran, Walsh and maybe Pomerantz will be out in force on Tuesday. We'll see how many Wade loyalists will obey his command not to circulate petitions on Tuesday. One County Legislature candidate in Troy supposedly loyal to Wade is said to be readying their own individual petition to be able to hit the streets on Tuesday, in defiance of Wade's order.
That may just be the start of the petition problems for Democrats. We hear there is a feud in the party between workers for County Judge Andy Ceresia and Hanft, with the Ceresia forces not wanting Hanft on their petition.
Weak candidates, problems from a string of Democrat-approved tax increases and poor fundraising are now coupled with a set of primary battles and vicious party infighting for Rensselaer County Democrats. And the fighting may only be getting worse starting this week.
Worked Over by the WFP?
Wade's clout was seen as taking another tumble when the Working Families Party endorsed Geri Pomerantz for Family Court judge. Wade has already thrown his support behind Richard Hanft, but was apparently unable to win support for Hanft among the WFP. Hanft is already facing a Democrat primary against Beth Walsh and the loss of the WFP line is a major blow.