The Livingston County Democratic and Conservative parties have significant ideological differences, but that doesn’t mean we cannot hold a professional respect for County Democratic Chairwoman Judith Hunter. Ms. Hunter holds to core Democratic principles, and does not like to see her party being taken advantage of for one candidate’s political gain. Perhaps it is why Ms. Hunter took this unusual, but necessary action, as reported in this week’s edition of the Livingston County News:
Judith Hunter, chairwoman of the Livingston County Democrat Committee, says the committee has made no endorsement in the race for Sheriff between Thomas J. Dougherty and James M. Szczesniak. Hunter said the County Committee, at a meeting last month, “found that there was support for both candidates.” The committee then took a vote to remain neutral. “Please know that any ‘Democrats for Dougherty’ signs you see are the efforts of private individuals. There are also Democrats supporting Jim Szczesniak,” Hunter said Tuesday.
The issue prompting Ms. Hunter's response arose as “Democrats for Dougherty” signs began cropping up around the county. These signs create the illusion that somehow Mr. Dougherty is the Democratic candidate in the race for Sheriff. Any effort to correct this misconception by Mr. Dougherty or his team have been tepid at best. Mr. Dougherty has said that this is not an official campaign action, and only the actions of private individuals. However, the misleading signs are promoted at Dougherty campaign events by Dougherty campaign members. The candidate can’t have it both ways – either this is an action of private individuals not connected to the campaign or it is a deceptive campaign strategy. The evidence suggests a deception.
The fact is not all Democrats are supporting Mr. Dougherty. The Mulvaneys (pictured) have been out-spoken advocates for the Szczesniak for Sheriff Campaign. In addition, a personal letter from Mr. Marty Hughes (D), a retired Senior Investigator with the State Police, was sent to hundreds of households. Here is the text of Mr. Hughes’ letter:
I am a lifelong registered Democrat. I worked with our party’s committee to identify a viable candidate for Livingston County Sheriff. One criteria I used was to find someone who would positively compare to the other announced candidates. We spoke with several people, but found no one available for the campaign. Promoting a person just to “field a candidate” was not in the best interest of the party or the citizens of Livingston County.
I am also a retired Senior Investigator with the New York State Police. In my over twenty years as a Trooper, I worked many cases with Jim Szczesniak, including larcenies and robberies, suicides and murders, accidents and assaults. I know his work ethic, his investigative abilities, his supervisory methods and his unique blend of training and experience. I ask you to do what Democrats always do - vote for the best person for the job. A simple examination and comparison of training, experience, and knowledge will lead you to the same conclusion I have reached.
We need Jim Szczesniak as our Sheriff.
Whether you are a registered Republican, Democrat, Conservative, Independent, or unaffiliated voter, please remember to vote Row “C” on Tuesday, November 5. People of all parties are supporting Jim Szczesniak for Sheriff, because we can all appreciate the need for experience, dedication and integrity in our Sheriff’s Department.