As the 2013 election season slowly approaches, the 2 hotspots appear to be Ulster and Rochester. Let's take a look.
In Ulster, there are real questions about the entire ticket. Town Councilwoman Hendrick, an enrolled conservative and Town Conservative Chair, has consistently agitated the Town Supervisor and numerous members of the Republican Committee. Now, there are real questions of a divide between the two parties.
Hendrick best be careful. The last time there was a divide between the Republicans and Conservatives, Nick Woerner got elected. Is that really what they want? There are rumors he wants to return an seek his old job. Beware those who fail to learn from history.
Now, to the hottest part of Ulster County (at least politically), the Town of Rochester.
The battle for the legislative seat currently held by Terry Bernardo now has three candidates. Manuela Michailesku is once again seeking the seat. Considering how badly she was defeated previously and considering how many people her husband has infuriated with his blog comments, her chances are poor. That does not mean, however, that she will not have a substantial impact on the race. She will, but not in the way she thinks.
A man named Dawson has stepped forward to run. He is perceived rightly or wrongly as the candidate presented by Dave O'Halloran to go after Terry Bernardo.
Terry Bernardo has already made it clear that she is seeking election.
So, how will this go? Well, it is clear to me that the Conservatives and the Independence Party will endorse Terry Bernardo. There will be attempts at Opportunity to Ballot primaries, but these will fail either in court or at the ballot box. Expect Terry Bernardo to be on the ballot in November on the Conservative and Independence Party lines.
What about the Republican line? This is more interesting. Considering the current make up of the Rochester Committee, expect Mr. Dawson to receive the initial endorsement. It appears he has the votes. Bernardo will come in second and Manuela will come in third.
There will then be a 3-way primary for the Republican line. It is in this primary that Manuela will have the most influence. She will not win. In fact, she will come in a distant third. However, the votes she will take (20% at most) will not come from the Bernardo camp. They will come from potential Dawson voters and from the support she has on her own. In the end, Bernardo will win the primary, but could do it with less than 50% of the vote. Expect the vote to be 45% for Bernardo, 35% to 40% for Dawson, and the balance (15% to 20%) for Manuela.
For Dawson to win, he cannot just run against Terry and Len Bernardo. He has to run on his own. Unfortunately, with Manuela in the race, that will not be possible. The anti-Bernardo venom will overwhelm the primary, doom Dawson, and likely give Terry the win.
In this district, the entire race will be pro-Bernardo versus anti-Bernardo. Dawson and Manuela will split the anti-Bernardo vote. Thus, Manuela could have the biggest role of all -- spoiler. Ironically, she could be the one who guarantees Terry Bernardo another term in the Legislature.
In the weeks to come, expect vicious attacks and commentary between the Manuela camp and David O'Halloran, the one who is believed to be behind the Dawson campaign (rightly or wrongly). Ironically, this plays right into the hands of the Bernardos who must be laughing up their sleeves more and more.