A handful of local and area Republicans, some of whom hold public office, announced their support this week for certain Democratic candidates running in the Nov. 6 elections.
In Patterson, Putnam County Legislator Mary Conklin, a Republican, is endorsing Luz Shulgin, one of the candidates vying for the District 4 position she’s leaving. Shulgin is facing Virginia Nacerino, who Democrats called “a fixture in Republican party politics for decades.”
In Brewster, Republican Mayor Jim Schoenig and four Putnam residents who are registered with the same party gathered Thursday afternoon with Justin Wagner (D). He is running against incumbent Sen. Greg Ball (R, C, I) for the 40th State Senate seat.
Southeast resident Loretta Lebitsch was an Independent for most of her life. She joined the Republican party three years ago, and tends to judge each election on its own—rather than defaulting to the conservative vote.
“I made the decision at a candidate forum,” Southeast resident Loretta Lebitsch said. “I’m not happy with Greg Ball, and that’s why I’m voting for Justin Wagner.”
Joe Bachmeier, Ball’s press secretary, said the gathering was an indication that “once again, Wagner is playing catch up and getting desperate.”
“For months we have built a solid coalition of Democrats and Independents for Ball, including the critical endorsement of popular Democrat Mayor [Patricia] Reilly in Mount Kisco,” he said Thursday afternoon.
After Wagner spoke for a few moments about Ball’s missteps—which he said includes using taxpayer money to send campaign materials, and spending thousands of dollars on outings with lobbyists in Albany over a six-month period—Schoenig shared his reasoning for backing Wagner.
“I think he [Wagner] said it best when he said it’s not Republican or Democrat, what it is is working with the best candidate, he said. “I think Justin is that best candidate. He’s willing to work with the villages and towns. We have not had any cooperation from Greg, and it’s just time for a change.”
Ball’s camp fired back with a slew of accomplishments relevant to the Village.
“As for Brewster, Sen. Ball has delivered $250,000 for the Brewster Theatre, over $150,000 for Brewster Schools and tirelessly worked on behalf of Brewster’s seniors, veterans and taxpayers,” Bachmeier said, adding that Ball has “bent over backwards to work with all local elected officials.”