The Examiner

New Castle Incumbents Make Push to Force Democratic Primary

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The New Castle Democratic slate of, left to right, Kristen Browde, Ivy Pool and Gail Markels, may face a primary challenge from their Republican-endorsed opponents.

New Castle’s Republican-endorsed slate for town board is planning to strike back against their Democratic opponents by potentially forcing a primary in September.

Supervisor Robert Greenstein and council members Lisa Katz and Adam Brodsky confirmed this week that they hope to challenge Democratic candidate for supervisor Kristen Browde and running mates Gail Markels and Ivy Pool for the party’s nomination because the challengers have misrepresented their political affiliation and record by trying to capitalize on sentiment against President Donald Trump in a town that is strongly Democratic.

Greenstein and Katz can collect the requisite number of signatures from Democratic New Castle residents to trigger a primary because they are registered Democrats. However, Brodsky is unaffiliated and would need to have his Democratic candidacy approved by a majority of the party’s 29 district leaders.

“Their whole campaign strategy seems to be ‘We’re the Democrats, they’re the Republicans, vote for us,’” said Greenstein who is seeking a third term this fall. “A major motivation in primarying them is to remind voters there are Democrats on the other slate as well and not to be misled.”

Greenstein pointed to the Democrats’ website, which states “Turn New Castle Blue” as one example of injecting national politics into the race. Katz added that it’s also clear to her that the Democrats are using that tactic to turn out their base .

“That’s exactly what they’re doing and they know full well none of us are Republicans,” Katz said of their opponents’ tactics. “I hand it to the Republicans for wanting to nominate the best candidates for the job.”

Meanwhile, the town GOP has been willing to endorse their slate despite their lack of Republican credentials, she said.

Katz said she had also sought the Democratic nomination but was told she would have to back the Democrats’ candidate for supervisor, something she would not consider.

More than 400 valid signatures would have to be submitted by Greenstein and Katz to force the primary. They have not made a decision whether to press forward if Brodsky fails to gain the committee’s approval.

Brodsky sent a letter to Democratic Committee co-chairs Jerry Curran and Karen LaPorta on Monday asking for a waiver to run.

Curran said the committee will convene a meeting before the petitioning period ends to follow proper procedures and comply with its bylaws after receiving a formal request for a waiver. However, with some people leaving town for the long holiday weekend and others going to be away during the week of July 4, he didn’t know when that meeting may be scheduled.

He added that it is apparent that Greenstein, Katz and Brodsky are looking to eliminate any competition in their quest for re-election.

“I think he’s desperate and seems threatened by the strong slate of candidates that we have,” Curran said of Greenstein.

Browde said Thursday although Greenstein has claimed he isn’t a career politician, the move to try and force a primary is something that a career politician would make.

Furthermore, the supervisor has been supportive of Republican state Sen. Terrence Murphy and County Executive Rob Astorino while distancing himself from Assemblyman David Buchwald, a Democrat, and even Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a town resident, Browde said.

“He has a legal right to do it, but he was elected as a Republican, he’s endorsed Republicans, he endorses Republicans, he endorses extreme right-wing Republicans and says it’s not appropriate to endorse Hillary Clinton,” Browde said.

“I don’t care what card you have in your pocket, who you stand with says everything about what you stand for, and we’ve seen who he stands with.”

She disputed Greenstein’s charge that they have little to run on and next week the Democrats will release a detailed platform. However, traditional progressive issues such as clean air and water need to be advocated for on a local level as well, Browde said.

“You can’t pretend what happens at Washington stops at our borders, and you have to be able to deliver these things as well as local issues,” Browde said. “When they lower our water standards, which my opponent calls mandate relief, do we want dirtier water, do we want chemicals in our water? No, we’re going to do what’s prudent.”

While Pool stopped short of accusing their opponents of looking to eliminate opposition, she said it would have the same affect if they are successful in their primary push.

“It just doesn’t seem like it is in the best interests of residents,” Pool said. “Since (Team New Castle) is already on the ballot on (the) Republican line, seeking the Democratic party line as well means that they are trying to limit choice by blocking out the voices of the Republicans, independents, and other party members in our community.”

Brodsky said during the last four years the board led by Greenstein has had a long list of accomplishments large and small, including those on issues that are often traditionally linked to Democrats. The board has supported sustainability-related issues, including a plastic bag ban, Westchester Power’s Community Choice Aggregation program and single stream recycling. Furthermore, their slate was supportive of Clinton’s presidential bid, he said.

“When push comes to shove, I don’t think party politics has a place in local politics,” Brodsky said.


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