Tuesday, May 13, 2003

When politics and truth colide

Political machines are figuring out which cogs they want to endorse for this November's elections - specifically county-wide elections.

Perusing some of the endorsements, I was surprised - or dismayed might be a better word - at the criteria the endorsements were based on.

The recent IDA shake up seems to be the primary sticking point for the Republican party and how its members voted on that shake up made up the party faithfuls' minds who would get the GOP nod for November.

Case in point: Former Democratic Legislator - and my old high school VP - Bill Ross didn't side with the Republican caucus and the two Democrat turn-coats in their bid to remake the county's Industrial Development Agency.

When it came time for the party of Lincoln to annoint this year's class of candidates, they told Mr. Ross they would deny them access to their line.

Ross, a registered conservative, needs the party's say-so to run as a Republican according to the archaic election system that the state of New York has.

As a Democrat-turned-conservative, Ross isn't likely to get the donkey seal of approval, leaving him standing alone as a conservative.

Now allow me to point out, first of all, that Bill Ross was my vice principal. Secondly, he helped me get an internship at the legislature my senior year of high school. And finally, I was very good friends with his step-daughter.

I just wanted to wear my bias on my sleeve so you would see my POV.

Ross said he's running full bore and if he gets the GOP nod, he'll take it. If not, he'll just run as a conservative.

And knowing Bill, he'll find a way to win.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch - or in Wilson, at least - Democratic Legislator Kyle Andrews got the pubbie endorsement.

More than one person had told me weeks ago that Kyle had been gauranteed no opposition if he voted for the IDA shakeup.

Andrews was one of the previously mentioned turn-coats.

The other - Brad Erck - didn't get endorsed, but rather faces some serious competition from attorney Rick Updegrove.

But back to Andrews.

On April 4, Kyle was my guest on my talk show. At that time I told him that I had heard this little rumor about his exchanging a vote for Shirley Hamilton's ouster from the IDA for a free ride in November.

Kyle flatly denied it and said he just did it because it was time for a change.

A call to Kyle yesterday wasn't returned, but both Henry Wojtasczek, chairman of the county Republican Party; and Frank Soda, chairman of the county Democratic Party, said there was no trade made.

Wojtasczek said the IDA vote helped them decide to endorse Kyle, but also helping was the party's inability to find a candidate to run against him.

Soda pointed out the same.

"I think given his performance, they have a tough time finding a credible opponent," Soda said.

So let me see if I can get this straight: The GOP can't find a Republican in Wilson? Um, yeah.

"Why would one person (Andrews) get a pass and the other person (Erck) get an opponent?" Soda asked.

I don't know, Frank ... coincidence?

I asked Wojtasczek, "The moral of today's story is no quid-pro-quo on Kyle Andrews?"

"Absolutely not," he said.

Maybe my sources were right and there was a trade. Maybe they just made it up completely. Or maybe it really was just a coincidence.

It's in the coincidences of the world, by the way, that we often find the truth.