By Arthur O’Sullivan
Since September, I have been interviewing candidates for local elections in Broome County. Happy Medium, the hip new magazine organizing these interviews, needed a Republican writer to balance perspectives on the race. Since there are no Republicans in Happy Medium (yet), I was drafted to take on the job. You should be seeing the fruits of our labor on October 27. It was a great opportunity, and I’m grateful to Happy Medium’s display of bipartisanship in inviting me onto this project.
One problem, however, was that most local Republican candidates refused to even respond to our interview requests, while most Democrats jumped at the chance. Thus, I was forced to listen to these Dems drone on and on while I could have been doing something more productive, like heroin. I’m being facetious, of course. Many of these candidates, Republican or Democrat, gave very interesting perspectives on Binghamton and its problems.
Being so local, there was generally little room for ideology to make things boring and repetitive. The obvious exception to this was the repetitious mantra “I’m not a partisan candidate. I listen to everyone.” But at the very least, each candidate gave unique answers to our questions. Over the course of these interviews, I started to develop opinions about these candidates, and ideas about whom I would elect, if given the choice.
Of course, I wouldn’t let that color my reporting in Happy Medium. Even if you were concerned about my bias, Democrats like Jenna Vallone and Jonathan Maestre are there to counterbalance my perspective.
Finally, remember that my opinions are my own, and not that of Binghamton Review. This is a non-partisan magazine, and would lose its funding if I didn’t write something like this. Without further yapping, the following are my endorsements for each race. (N.B. I excluded those races whose candidates I knew nothing about.)
District Attorney: Matt Ryan (D)
Heavens to Betsy! Arthur endorsed a Democrat?!
Yes it’s true. I like this guy.
First of all: Ryan, unlike Battisti, agreed to interview with us. That gives him a boost in my book. (Expect this to recur throughout the article.)
Second, I’m not too fond of Paul Battisti. I thought Michael Korchak was the much better candidate. Unlike the other two, Korchak had experience and electability as the incumbent DA. If the Broome GOP has a good explanation for not supporting him, I’d like to know. Oh wait! They won’t talk to anyone from B.U., not even Republicans.
Finally, I like Matt Ryan because of his character, experience in public office, and clear plans. I may not agree with all his views, but he expresses them well. If he wins, and Broome turns into a crime-ridden hellhole, I’ll admit I’m wrong. Until then, I believe in Matt Ryan.
City Council District 1: Porter (D)?
Olami Porter (D) vs Mary Ann Callahan (R). I don’t know either of them. Porter agreed to an interview, which was nice, but since I wasn’t party to this one, I can not form a strong opinion.
District 2: Both
Unlike district 1, I’m familiar with the candidates of this race.
I met Sophia Resciniti last year, as she was campaigning for State Assembly. Though I was to her right, politically, she seemed like a good candidate and person. I was sad to hear that she lost to Donna Lupardo that year, and annoyed to hear that the Broome County GOP allegedly tanked her campaign.
Afterwards, however, she wouldn’t respond to my attempts to contact, not on behalf of a constituent, nor even for an interview, despite repeated attempts. Nevertheless, she is the incumbent Republican, so that naturally biases towards her.
Kinya Middleton did agree to an interview with us, however. She did well, though I didn’t find much political agreement with her. Despite this, I believe she is a good candidate. For these reasons, I’ll be happy to see either win.
District 4: Brian Nayor (R)
FINALLY! A Republican whom I can endorse in good conscience. Not only did Nayor agree to interview with us, he was on the ball! He had boundless energy when coordinating the interview, not to mention during the interview itself. It’s clear that he’s very knowledgeable on issues, and is willing to work well with others to solve them.
Nate Hotchkiss, his Democratic opponent, was a fair candidate. But in my opinion, Nayor blows him out of the water in terms of energy and political know-how. I’d be interested to see how the race shapes up.
District 5: Hadassah Mativetsky (D)
Running unopposed and agreeing to interview with us makes this easy. A BU alum, I’ll be interested to see how Hadassah balances the interest of students and locals in the city.
District 6: Neither
Although Rebecca Rathmell (D) agreed to interview with us, and the incumbent Philip Strawn (R) didn’t, I can’t get enthusiastic about either. In our interview, Rathmell didn’t seem to have original ideas about the city’s problems. Meanwhile, Strawn has the advantage of being the incumbent Republican. To these ends, I’m suspending judgment.
Mayor of Endicott: Linda Jackson (E)
This is hardly relevant to students, but what the Hell? The Broome GOP tried to kill her campaign, and she’s fighting back with her ‘Endicotters’ party. But won’t this split the vote? If so, it means her good friend, the moderate Democrat Larry Coppola, wins. She seems to have a good track record as the incumbent, and I want to see how she continues her leadership. Moreover, Logan Blakeslee works for her, and any friend of Logan’s is a friend of mine.
As you can see, I could only endorse one Republican in these races. For this, I blame the Broome County GOP. I’ll be interested to see if their Tokugawa-style seclusion strategy will work out in November. Until then, I won’t hold my breath.