Monday, June 15, 2009

The Ticket Fillers Fade Fast

The already weak ticket for Democrats in County Legislature seats has apparently gotten a lot weaker. We hear one, and maybe two, of the Democrat candidates for legislative seats in Troy has decided to drop out as the party gets ready to collect petitions.

The decision by candidate Lisa Graham to abandon the race comes as a primary campaign for Legislature by Frank LaPosta gains steam. In just one week, LaPosta has almost qualified his petitions and is reporting considerable support from Democrats.

LaPosta decided to run for Legislature along with his ally Dan Doran after he was shoved aside by county party Boss Tom Wade during the selection of candidates. Instead of selecting LaPosta, Wade put up six legislative candidates dubbed by one well-known Democrat as the "Ticket Fillers". Wade further hurt the "Ticket Fillers" by deciding to postpone collection of signatures on nominating petitions by one week, giving LaPosta a huge tactical advantage.

Democrats are now hoping to sucker current Third District Councilman Pete Ryan into the race. They want Ryan to get involved in the growing feud between Wade and LaPosta and run a race even while there are scant party resources and even less unity among Troy Democrats.

What is curious about the desperate full-court push by county Democrats is that Ryan made it well-known that he had decided against running for City Council to spend more time with his family. A primary and a general election, run city-wide, are much more involved and expensive than running in a smaller council district. The amount of fundraising and effort to run for Legislature are considerably more than what is needed to run for Council, not to mention the stress on a family and one's business.

Here is where it gets curious and possibly even more costly for Ryan. Ryan was also interested in landing a state job but Democrats, angered by his decision to not seek re-election to the City Council, have pulled the plug on any hopes of him landing a state job. The run for Legislature would also put Ryan in conflict with secret plans for Ryan to land a job in the city Recreation Department, meaning Ryan would lose money and waste time in running an exhausting legislative campaign during a time of party chaos.

Still, Democrats hope Ryan takes the bait and joins the battle in what will certainly be a bruising and time-consuming primary, pitting the Wade forces against the popularity and growing clout of LaPosta. Some longtime political observers are angry with the shell game being played on Ryan and the fact that Democrats have no plans to make good on a job or campaign assistance for the Councilman.