Last year’s election for governor resulted in the legal creation, as least for the next four years, of two new political parties in New York State, the Women’s Equality Party, created for Governor Cuomo, and the Stop Common Core Party, created for Rob Astorino. Astorino associates changed the name of their party to the more generic-sounding Reform Party earlier this year.
The State Board of Elections reports that as of April 1, 2015 there were 12 people registered with the Women’s Equality Party (WEP) in the state and 10 in the Reform Party. The Erie County Board of Elections website indicates that there are 10 WEP registrants and no one in the Reform party.
The State Elections Law outlines procedures for how a new party gets into the regular election process. Here are some key points:
- When an independent body becomes a party at a general election by qualifying under the requirements set by law, nominations shall, prior to and including the first general election thereafter, be made as provided by the rules of such party.
- A certificate of such nominations shall contain: (a) The name of the party filing the nominations. (b) The title of the office for which the nomination is made and the name and residence address of the person so nominated. (c) The names of the members of the committee, if any, appointed to fill vacancies in nominations. (d) A description and representation of the party’s emblem. (e) The name of the committee making the nomination.(f) A certified copy of the party rules describing the rule-making body and nomination process. (g) An affidavit containing a statement by the presiding officer and secretary of the committee that they are such officers and the statements in the certificate are true.
- The certificate of nomination, with all required information contained therein, shall be filed in the same places and manner as provided for designating petitions, not later than seven weeks preceding the general election, or as otherwise provided herein. [Note: September 15 this year.]
- If there is any question or conflict relating to the rules or the rule-making body, rules which a majority of the candidates of such party who were nominated by petition for offices voted for by all the voters of the state at the general election at which the independent body became a party certify were duly adopted by a properly authorized body shall be deemed to be the rules. The certificate of such candidates describing the rule-making body shall be controlling.
We are in some uncharted territory here, but what this would seem to mean (particularly the last point) is that a majority of the candidates running on the election ballot last November as candidates of the WEP must create the party rules to facilitate nominations by the party. The party nominees last year were Andrew Cuomo, Kathy Hochul, Tom DiNapoli and Eric Schneiderman. As the law says, the certificate of such candidates describing the rule-making body shall be controlling.
A friend indicates to me that only two of the four WEP candidates from last November’s election, Andrew Cuomo and Kathy Hochul, have signed off on the rule-making that is required to get the party going; for those keeping score that is one short of the required majority.
Rumor has it that Cuomo and Hochul are not often or usually in sync with DiNapoli and Schneiderman about … hardly anything. But unless either DiNapoli or Schneiderman sign up for the WEP rule-making, the WEP will apparently pass out of existence.
No word about similar issues for the Reform Party. Since they were successful earlier this year in changing the name of the party, one has to assume that they have things taken care of.
So the result – probably one less party to “fuse” with in New York State. On the other hand, don’t be surprised if one or more local Republican candidates wind up with another ballot line – Reform – in September.
A footnote on the local primary season
A post last week noted that there are relatively few Democratic Party primaries in Erie County this year. It has been brought to my attention that there is a primary for City Court Judge in the City of Tonawanda to fill the position that will be left vacant by the retirement of Judge Joseph Cassata. Mark Saltarelli is the endorsed Republican and Independent candidate. Mark Doane is endorsed by the Democratic and Working Families parties. Michael Drmacich, an assistant district attorney, is the endorsed Conservative with the strong support of party chairman Ralph Lorigo. All three candidates have crossed-filed in the various party primaries.
A political operative who has worked on Steve Pigeon projects in the past carried petitions for Drmacich. One could speculate that Drmacich is a joint project of Lorigo and Pigeon. Such outside influences don’t come to bear in many small city races.
The annual salary of the Tonawanda City Court Judge is $145,000, making it an attractive opportunity and right up there with the salaries of other judicial offices that will be contested in Erie County this year. Interestingly, town justices in the Town of Tonawanda are paid $62,812, or less than half what the City judge makes.