Enter the Greenbush Party. In the sleepy burgh of North Greenbush a newly created party has received an inordinate amount of media attention in the final days of the election. While the GP has a hard, uphill battle, their guerrilla campaign against a slate cross-endorsed by four parties, Democrat, Republican, Independence and Conservative (or DRIC) is getting noticed and their message may be resonating.
For an outsider, and perhaps many an insider, the North Greenbush political scene is a dizzying labyrinth of alliances and interests, both public and private. An enigma, wrapped in a riddle, deep-fried in chocolate sauce. Something akin to pre-WWI Europe and the Great Game. Granted, they're a bit less subtle in North Greenbush, an iron fist in an iron glove.
From the Times Union, October 30, 2007:
The incumbent supervisor's political challenger is alleging that the town leader hid a more than $300,000 town deficit in order to craft an election year town budget that may show a slight tax decrease.
Joshua A. Sabo, the current town attorney who is running for supervisor on the Greenbush Party line, said Monday that Conservative Supervisor Mark A. Evers' budget is illegal.
The Greenbush Party came into being back in August with the petitioning effort of a smart-growth faction of North Greenbush, driven by members of the Defreestville Area Neighborhood Association, among others. With the very strong probability that the major parties would be running an identical slate of pro-development candidates in the upcoming elections, the advocates behind the Greenbush Party felt it was imperative to offer the voters another choice. Easily gathering the more than the 500 signatures necessary to start their party, the Greenbush Party now poses the only serious challenge to the ticket that Evers, who is seeking reelection, tops.
From the Times Union November 2, 2007:
Warring political parties and several lawsuits have jumbled the slate of town candidates this year, resulting in challengers having to create their own political party to get on the ballot.
Incumbent Conservative Supervisor Mark Evers, who ran for election as a Democrat in 2005, has all four lines this year and most of his running mates have multiple lines as well. The majority, which crosses party lines, came close to running unopposed.
And, from Metroland again:
North Greenbush needs to worry less about bending to the special interests of developers and more about smart growth and comprehensive planning for its quickly growing community. Juggling the demands to keep its rural charms and at the same time bump up its tax base is proving a difficult trick for the current supervisor, Mark Evers, considering his apparent ties to the developers and contractors who see the potential for dollars along Route 4 and ignore the longtime area residents who’d rather not have a Lowe’s for a next-door neighbor. We believe that the level-headed town attorney Joshua Sabo has the right vision and the perfect attitude to find the tax base and keep the smart-growth folk happy. With the Democratic Party in dramatic disarray, everyone in the town wants some peace. Everyone wants that one vision to rally around. Hopefully the voters will not choose the wrong vision this Nov. 6.
Anecdotal evidence shows that, at the very least, people are asking questions about 1) collusion among the party bosses 2) lack of any choice on the ballot 3) the budget 4) contractor/developer interests and 5) What's Row F?
Do we think Sabo and the Greenbush Party will win? No. That's too much to expect and not really the point, from our perspective. For us, the questions are: Will the DRIC candidates respond to this week's coverage with a hard-hitting negative piece on the GP? Will the DRIC put on a full-court press this weekend? It will be telling if a slate of candidates endorsed by every major and minor party needs to step-up it's game three days before the election.
Or, is it all quiet on the North Greenbush front for the remainder of the campaign?