Reda out, Garvey in, Gravagna challenges, Axelrod makes stuff up
RCT POLITICAL ANALYSIS
Wednesday night’s Clarkstown GOP reorganization meeting was filled with fireworks in the wake of last week’s committee election super-landslide and the announcement that 22-year Rockland GOP Chairman Vincent Reda would be retiring after the county convention later this month.
Reda is now 80-years-old and has been under some political pressure following the trouncing of his close ally Legislator Frank Sparaco at the hands of a coalition led by County Executive Ed Day. Sparaco had attempted to gain control of a majority of Clarkstown GOP Committee seats, but was thwarted by incumbent Chairman Bob Axelrod, with plenty of help from Day, after Sparaco “went off the reservation” and decided to egg the county executive on into a fight.
None of Sparaco’s allies were seeking to spar with the popular new county executive, but alas, fate had a different agenda. As the times they are a’ changing, Reda has publicly agreed to hand over power to County Executive Ed Day’s preferred chairman, former Clarkstown School Board President Lawrence Garvey, with the vice president positions going to Michael Lawler, campaign manager to Rob Astorino, and Robert Zeiss, director of finance for the Rockland GOP.
Outgoing Chairman Reda has spoken at each town’s committee and instructed committeemen and women to vote for Garvey.
This clear arrangement did not stop conspiracy theories from sprouting when Ramapo Commiteeman and frequent political candidate Joseph Gravagna announced he was challenging Garvey. A theory that Gravagna was planted by Reda was promoted by none other than Bob Axelrod himself at the Clarkstown Committee Reorganization meeting Wednesday night, even though Reda publicly endorsed Garvey at the meeting.
All sources within the GOP, however, have been consistent in their account that Reda and others discouraged Gravagna from running, telling him he had no chance to win. Gravagna sees things differently, of course, and has been talking up his chances of victory.
Before accusing Reda of planting Gravagna to run, Axelrod surprised the audience by stating, “I have worked with Vincent Reda and Frank Sparaco for six years, and I can tell you they are cunning, manipulative and heartless…and those are their good qualities.”
Axelrod did not indicate what his role had been during this six year collaboration with heartless evil-doers, in which he would oft be seen commiserating with the aforementioned sinners. Many Axelrod supporters including Day appeared surprised by Axelrod’s approach, which could capsize the prior agreements made between factions.
In an official press press release Day took a different tone toward Reda. He said, “I want to personally thank Vinnie Reda for his tireless efforts on behalf of our party and his many years of service. Twenty-two years of service is significant and there were many successes achieved while Vinnie was at the helm of our party.”
Before serving as county chairman, Reda served as chairman of the Clarkstown Republican Committee for 14 years.
Reda said, “Serving this party has been an honor and privilege. Through ups and downs and changing political winds, we’ve managed to beat the odds time and time again. We’ve been able to provide strong leadership for the people of this county.”
“With the election of Ed Day last year, we are beginning a new era for the party,” Reda continued. “I look forward to working with the new leadership and will continue to offer my more than 40 years of experience as a resource for our elected officials, candidates and committee members.”
At this time, Reda has been asked to continue to participate in certain functions, such as helping to organize the annual Lincoln Day gala.
During Wednesday night’s meeting, Garvey and Gravagna addressed the audience. After Gravagna mentioned that he carried petitions for Ed Day’s campaign repeatedly during his speech, Day interrupted him and and asked that he stop dropping his name.
Former town clerk candidate Diane Holland gave a speech in which she blamed divisions and bad blood within the Republican Party on a certain supposedly “charismatic” personality, albeit without actually mentioning his name. Her speech did not receive a great deal of response from the audience, many of whom were new commitee-persons not acquainted with the topic.
CORRECTION — Do-si-do is considered the most popular of several spelling options for the square dance move referenced in the title of this article. Dosey Doe is an incorrect or apocryphal spelling for the dance move, which has been become a common misspelling in recent years.