The results of the recent primary for the Working Families Party (WFP)is yet another grim example of the decline of ethics in general and politics in particular. The Republican Party through its surrogates has swept the Working Families Party line in Saratoga Springs and in so doing denied Democratic candidates the additional line.
Readers may recall that the local WFP saw a slew of new registrants recently as the result of a statewide effort by Republicans to gain a second line for their candidates most of whom have no interest in supporting the progressive WFP platform. In Saratoga Springs, those new registrants, mostly former Republican and Independence Party members, signed petitions to place candidates for local office on the ballot on the WFP line none of whom had been endorsed by the WFP.
All but one of the candidates endorsed by the WFP, all Democrats, withdrew from the ballot rather than face what was going to be a sure loss for them given the new party registration numbers. The only WFP candidate to remain on the ballot was Democrat Tara Gaston running for Supervisor. She received two votes. The winners of the Supervisor race, the top two vote getters for the two seats, were a former Republican and a former unaffiliated voter who had just recently registered in the WFP. Neither one campaigned nor could they be reached by the media to comment on their victories. The fact that efforts by the print media (Times Union and Foothills Business Review) to solicit comments from the successful candidates went unanswered tells it all. What politician running for office declines to tout a victory?
What makes this race particularly cynical is that the architects of this maneuver didn’t actually try to run the Republican endorsed candidates for the City Council and Board of Supervisors on the WFP line. There is no way these WFP candidates who are only on that line can win in November. The goal in this case seems to be not to gain an additional line for Repubulican candidates but to deprive the Democrats of that advantage.
This strategy had other advantages for the locally endorsed Republicans. My take is that:
- The Republican candidates didn’t want to be tainted by being directly involved in stealing the line.
- It would be hard for the Republican candidates to explain the contradiction between their conservative politics and their involvement with the Working Families Party that supports, among other things, a single payer health system and bail reform.
City of Saratoga Springs Republican Committee chair Chris Chris Obstarczyk has denied any involvement.