The winds of change continue to blow in Rockland County politics.
Longtime Clarkstown Highway Superintendent Wayne Ballard was among the incumbents defeated in last week’s primary election. Political newcomer Frank DiZenzo, a longtime employee at the Highway Department, easily defeated Ballard 65-35 percent in the GOP primary in an election framed by party leaders as a referendum against Ballard’s old pals Vinny Reda and Frank Sparaco, both of whom are no longer in power, as well as Conservative Party boss Ed Lettre, who still supports Ballard.
Though highway super sounds like an innocuous enough position, it had become highly politicized in Clarkstown in recent years, with many political dramas ensuing. Ballard still technically has a chance to win the position as he holds the Independence and Conservative Party lines. Democrat Bob Milone defeated Ballard’s primary on the Working Families line and also has an outside chance of winning in November.
Incumbent Councilman Daniel Friedman in Ramapo had his head handed to him by a veritable nobody “Samuel Tress,” who had never even registered to vote until this year. Tress won 75 percent of the vote, as Orthodox and Hasidic voters were instructed by their rabbis to annihilate Friedman [himself Orthodox]for his daring to take on Supervisor Chris St. Lawrence. Friedman had placed his political eggs in the “The FBI will arrest St. Lawrence” basket, but to no avail thus far.
In the hotly contested Rockland County Family Court Democratic primary, Rachel McGuane narrowly defeated Carol Barbash. Last minute propaganda from the Facebook page “Block the Block Vote,” claiming that Barbash was the “block vote candidate” and McGuane was somehow beyond such influence, may have helped swing some votes leading to the 200-vote margin. In reality, the race was not part of the classic “block vs. non- block” paradigm, as McGuane is the clerk of block vote stalwart Sherri Eisenpress and received part of the block vote for herself, including the final bump which put her over the top around 11 p.m.
Meanwhile, perennial candidate Ricky Sanchez, former deputy attorney of the Village of Haverstraw, limped to a 153 vote output in the village Democratic primary for mayor. Incumbent Michael Kohut earned 269 votes for 62.2 percent and the easy win.
In the Conservative primary for District 11 legislator, Democrat Richard Diaz defeated Republican Laurie Santulli.