Committee unanimous in its endorsements of countywide candidates
BY DYLAN SKRILOFF
It doesn’t appear as though there will be any primaries within countywide races for the Rockland GOP during election season 2016. At the annual County Convention last Thursday at Clarkstown Town Hall, GOP Committeemen and women unanimously endorsed candidates for Assembly, State Senate and County Court judge.
Battling the youngest current member of state government, 28-year-old James Skoufis (D), for the seat in Assembly District 99 (Parts of Orange County and the Town of Stony Point), will be political wunderkind Colin Schmitt, who is only 25-years-old himself. The upstart conservative Schmitt nearly defeated party-endorsed Goshen Mayor Kyle Roddey in a 2012 GOP primary for retiring Assemblywoman Nancy Calhoun’s seat. The election victory was ultimately secured by Skoufis in November, who has since gone on to become a noted up-and-comer in the Democratic Party.
Incumbent Republican Karl Brabenec will look to maintain his seat in District 98 (Parts of Orange County and part of the Town of Ramapo), while former NYPD captain and current vice president of the Pearl River School Board Tom DePrisco will take on incumbent Senator David Carlucci of District 38 (Most of Rockland and Ossining, Westchester County). DePrisco will make his expertise on school issues central to his campaign, as he seeks to portray Carlucci as weak on solutions to east the East Ramapo Central School District crisis.
Senator Bill Larkin (R), who is one of the few veterans of World War II still serving in state office anywhere in the United States, will give it one more go this year in Senate District 39. Facing off against Ellen Jaffee (D) in Assembly District 97 will be former Rockland Young Republicans president, Joe Chabot, who, like Schmitt, is 25-years-old.
Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski (D) of District 96 will avoid competition from the GOP this year, likely due to his cooperating with Republicans on many important initiatives, including most recently leading efforts to impose fire inspections on 49 private schools in the Town of Ramapo deemed by the state Dept. of Education to have filed insufficient inspection reports.
Former county prosectuor Pat Loftus was nominated by County Executive Ed Day for the position of County Court Justice and roundly approved by the audience of over 100 commiteemen and women.
The unanimity of opinion within the GOP arrives in the wake of a series of wars waged against the old county GOP guard of County Chairman Vincent Reda. The many skirmishes date back to well before Day became executive and involved many personalities.
Day and his supporters finally consolidated power over the party in the Fall of 2014 after the old GOP leadership continued to skirmish with Day in spite of the political mandate he earned in the 2013 county executive election. Since effectively gaining control of the GOP, a power he did not even desire, Day and cohorts have merged the party with the local reform and “Preserve” movements, creating a political tour de force that has led to many successes, most notably the unlikely 2015 GOP town council sweep in the Democrat-heavy Town of Clarkstown.