Saturday, March 26, 2005

Local: Republicans Brought Big Legal Gun To Irvington

As we congratulate Mayor-elect Erin Malloy in Irvington, I want to once again address the ludicrous claims by small-town Republicans all over the country -- including Malloy's opponent -- that party affiliation doesn't matter on a local level.

In Malloy's fight to have all votes counted in Irvington's election, Republican Dennis Flood had legal representation from John Ciampoli of Albany. Ciampoli is a noted election law expert, a member of the Republican National Lawyers Association and widely considered the big hitter among New York conservatives when it comes to defeating Democrats in close elections.

Ciampoli was the featured speaker at the Conservative Party Political Action Conference (CPPAC) held January in Albany and gave what I'm sure was a stirring talk on the latest developments in election law and strategies for securing Republican victories in election cases.

He was Republican Nick Spano's attorney in the long-contested recount fight with Democrat Andrea Stewart-Cousins and he also represented Republican Larry Delgado in his 2002 fight with Glen Hockley over a seat on the White Plains Common (City) Council.

If, as Flood asserts, party doesn't matter in such small elections why would the New York Republican party dispatch their biggest gun to tiny Irvington to take on Erin Malloy?

The answer is simple: Party affiliation at even the most local level does matter. The Republicans have for too long been superior to Democrats in local and regional strategizing and acknowledging that the road to Congress and the White House is paved with a concentrated and solid local foundation. Democrats need to realize that and stop letting them get away with this non-partisan rhetoric, when their actions say otherwise.

Republicans clearly did not send their biggest legal dog to Irvington to enjoy the town's lovely views of the Hudson River.

The Irvington mayoral election obviously held meaning that was bigger than many realize. It's time we Democrats start loudly delivering that message to local voters.