Rensselaer Co. GOP hustling to move party supporters to Working Families Party
Kenneth C. Crowe II is reporting for the Times Union the Rensselaer County Republicans are engaged in an effort to move party supporters from the Independence Party into the Working Families Party hoping to offset Democratic strength in the coming local elections. In November, County Executive Steve McLaughlin will be a candidate for re-election, officials in the three parties confirmed this week. The move has angered Working Family and Democratic leaders. The Independence, Green and other minor parties failed to secure the required number of votes in the 2020 presidential election that would guarantee them spots on the ballot, thereby jeopardizing the county GOP's established policy of running its candidates on multiple lines. “We’re working on that now,” county GOP chair John Rustin said about the voter registration effort. Republicans at the local level said Independence voters with family and other ties to the GOP have already been approached by party operative Richard Crist and they completed change of registration forms to be filed with the county Board of Elections at a later date. The Independence Party line accounted for nearly 10 percent, or 2,008 votes, of the nearly 21,000 votes McLaughlin received in his 2017 win over Democrat Andrea Smyth. McLaughlin won the election by 1,090 votes. A change in a voter’s party enrollment must be filed by February 14, in order for the person to cast a ballot in the June 22 primary. Winning a Working Families Party primary by just a few votes can translate into more than a thousand in the general election, said Phil Markham, the Rensselaer County Working Families leader. The party’s progressive values are not shared by Republicans who use “a loophole in the election law to put their own candidates on the ballot,” Markham said. Read the full story in the Times Union.