The New Castle Democratic Committee has formally rejected Councilman Adam Brodsky’s bid to be included on the ballot for a September primary, effectively ending an attempt by the Republican-endorsed ticket to eliminate major party opposition.
Jane Silverman, chair of the party’s Nominating Committee, said virtually all district leaders gathered Sunday evening to unanimously oppose Brodsky’s waiver request. It was the first chance district leaders had to convene a meeting since many people scattered just before the Fourth of July holiday week, she said.
In a statement released Monday morning, the Democratic Committee noted that while party leaders were gratified that Brodsky had inquired about the possibility of running for their party’s nomination, the decision had already been made to back the highly qualified ticket of Supervisor candidate Kristen Browde and town board hopefuls Gail Markels and Ivy Pool.
The statement mentioned that “the committee feels that Gail and Ivy will do a better job than Adam as Town Board members.”
Furthermore, Brodsky had previously declined to participate during the open application process for the nomination earlier this year, the statement mentioned.
“He had plenty of opportunity to come to our committee if he had wanted to be endorsed by the Democrats and he did not,” Silverman said.
About two weeks ago, the Republican slate of Brodsky, Supervisor Robert Greenstein and Councilwoman Lisa Katz had decided to pursue a primary challenge. At the time, Greenstein said they were going that route to offset what he described as an attempt to misrepresent their record as right-wing Republicans, when, in fact, they are registered Democrats.
Since Greenstein and Katz are party members despite their GOP backing, they do not need permission to vie for the party’s nomination. However, Brodsky, who is unaffiliated, had to go through the process of requesting a waiver from the committee under the Wilson Pakula Act, a state law that prohibits candidates for public office who aren’t registered with a party to gain that party’s nomination without authorization.
Brodsky said he was appreciative of the Democratic Committee’s consideration of his request but was disappointed at the outcome.
“I think a primary supporting me as well as Rob and Lisa, I think was in the best interests of New Castle, and the fact they would not grant me the waiver does not allow the Democratic voters in town to pick their candidates to represent the party,” Brodsky said.
As a result of the rejection, Greenstein said Monday he and Katz would not press forward with a primary challenge. It could potentially put Brodsky at a disadvantage since either Markels or Pool would be on the party’s line even if their challenge was successful. The ticket needs all three incumbents to win to retain its 3-2 majority on the town board.
The slate ran together as a team in 2013, has worked well together representing New Castle the past four years and will remain a ticket, Greenstein said.
Democrats contended that it was the incumbent slate of Greenstein, Brodsky and Katz that sought to eliminate a choice for general election voters by representing both major parties. Pool said it was a political maneuver that shouldn’t occur in local politics.
“It was something that I felt was unfair to voters in this town and it didn’t sit right with me personally,” Pool said.
Two weeks ago, Democratic Committee Co-chair Jerry Curran said Greenstein appeared desperate by trying to organize an eleventh-hour move to knock out major party opposition.
Brodsky said, however, he had inquired about the Democratic nomination earlier this year with committee officials, but was told that he would have to rescind his support for Greenstein to be considered.
By turning down a chance to take them on in the primary, Greenstein said Democrats may have squandered their best chance to place their opposition in a vulnerable position.
“The fact is there’s no guarantee we would have won that primary, and if we had lost that primary, I think they would have been in a much stronger position in the general election,” Greenstein said.
Silverman said it was clear that the three incumbents were looking to put the Democrats on the defensive by looking to rid themselves of their competition for November.
“They can claim from the rooftops that they’re Democrats but the bottom line is that Rob Greenstein campaigned for (the Republican nomination) and endorsed Terrence Murphy and Rob Astorino, and you can’t, in my mind, you can’t say you’re a Democrat when you do that,” Silverman said.
The Democratic ticket will also appear on the Working Families Party line while the Republican candidates have the backing of the Independence Party.