By Jason J. McGuire
Our electoral system requires that candidates for public office—even judicial ones—align with one or more parties to appear on the ballot. For Jennifer Noto and Kevin Van Allen that means predominantly the Republican and Conservative Parties. For Margaret Linsner and Justin Hill it is predominantly the Democrat and Working Families Parties. (Notably, each of these candidates will also appear on other minor party lines.) Every party stands for something, a distinct and differing set of values. The parties pick their candidates based upon which candidate it feels would best represent their party’s platform.
As the Livingston County Conservative Party Chair, I can assure county voters that the Conservative Party interviewed each of the candidates and found Jennifer Noto and Kevin Van Allen most qualified to best represent the ideals of our party: rule of law, impartiality in judgment and a strict interpretation of the Constitution. Mrs. Noto’s lengthy and varied legal experience, as well as her temperament, will suit her well as a County Judge. Mr. Van Allen also came clearly prepared for the interview. His comfort and expertise discussing complicated legal matters affecting the family and parental rights were noted by Conservative Party members.
Our party was concerned in particular with Ms. Linsner’s long affiliation with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Democratic Party, a party that is increasingly lurching left. The nominating process occurred less than a month after Gov. Cuomo’s much-celebrated passage of his late-term abortion expansion legislation, known as the Reproductive Health Act. Our members struggled to understand how anyone could so proudly identify with a party hellbent on destroying innocent human life up until the moment of birth.
Our concerns were further cemented when Nate McMurray, the Democratic candidate for New York’s 27th Congressional District, stumped for Ms. Linsner upon a recent visit to the Democratic Party Headquarters in Lima. McMurray believes that Linsner and her Democratic comrades will “fight for progressive values” and that she better represents his values. I don’t fault Mr. McMurray for rallying his base, but his campaign is built around left-leaning notions like the confiscation of firearms. McMurray infamously tweeted, “Yep. I’m coming for your AR15.” This much-reported statement was issued on June 24, 2019, yet his campaigning for Ms. Linsner occurred on October 3, 2019. To date, Ms. Linsner has not renounced Mr. McMurray’s support. It would seem that a candidate for judicial office would want to stay away from these kinds of statements if we are to believe they will decide impartially and in line with legal precedent regarding matters of the Second Amendment.
If you think that party affiliation has no role in picking judicial candidates, remember that Republicans gave us Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Democrats delivered Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor. Knowing that birds of a feather flock together, Republicans, Conservatives and many independents are sticking with Jennifer Noto and Kevin Van Allen for Livingston County Court Judge.
Jason J. McGuire is chairman of the Livingston County Conservative Party.