Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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April 2nd, 2010

2010 campaign season officially begins

The campaign season has officially begun in Sullivan County as candidates are coming out of the woodwork seeking political office.
The big excitement so far is expected to be the race for County Court Judge and Surrogate. Three credible, qualified, and highly respected candidates have announced their intention to fill the seat now held by the honorable Judge Burton Ledina.

Sadly, Ledina will be forced to vacate his seat and step down years before his term expires due to his age. Indisputably, the law must be changed to protect hardworking, fair-minded, competent judges from unjustly being forced into retirement.

Cindy Barber, who boldly ran against the popular incumbent just two short years ago, officially will be entering the race on Sunday April 18. Barber has already begun her campaign within the Democratic Committee lining up support through mailings, phone calls, and speaking before town committees.

Barber, the former Town of Bethel Judge, is regarded as a strong campaigner. She and her husband Ed are known to hit the trail 24/7.

Throughout the Ledina campaign there was an unjustified move to give the appearance Barber was on the attack when she really was not. To her credit, Barber was able to garner over 7,000 votes against the popular Ledina.

Barber enters the race with countywide name recognition.

Town of Thompson Judge Marty Miller also seeking the Democratic nomination officially announced his candidacy last week. Surprisingly his announcement was the same day and time as his Republican challenger.

Miller was expected to be heir apparent through back room Democratic politics, but those days are over thanks to the leadership of Chairman Steve Wilkinson.

Miller is a highly regarded member of Sullivan County’s judiciary. He replaced Ledina when he moved up to County Court, and now he wants to repeat history.

Both Miller and Ledina are close friends, and Miller’s wife Lauren is well liked.

At the end of the day, if both Miller and Barber stay in the race and garner enough nominating petitions, they will face one another in a Primary in September and then the winner will run in the November election.

Some Democrats think a primary is a bad idea, but in fact it can be healthy for a political party because it energizes the voting base.

The foremost decision for Democrats should ultimately be who can defeat the Republican candidate, Liberty attorney Mike McGuire.

Both Barber and Miller are formidable candidates, and the next few weeks of political campaigning within the Democratic leadership should be electrifying.

McGuire, in contrast, will apparently have clear sailing within the Republican Party to garner the nomination. Two anticipated contenders, former District Attorney Steven Lungen and Attorney Marvin Newberg are not expected to run.

McGuire is shrewd and personable and knows how to maneuver through the political battlefield. Besides the Republican Party nomination, he is expected to also receive the official backing of the Conservative and Independence Parties.

Conservatives and Independences can anticipate primary battles as well. Barber ran as a Conservative when she was first elected justice in Bethel, and Miller has connections within the party. Barber lost the Independence Primary when she ran against Ledina by only one vote.

Sheriff Michael Schiff’s wife Chrissy will be McGuire’s campaign manager, and will bring her successful “Team Schiff” strategy to the race. McGuire’s wife Corinne knows how to work a room and campaign hard.

The County Court Judge race may just be just the beginning of all the excitement and twists leading up to the November elections. There may be some shocks and surprises in the days ahead.

Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and State Senator John Bonacic are up for reelection, and from what I hear, one of them might have a big name formidable challenger. Shhh you did not hear that from me.

We will also have to wait and see if a referendum is on the ballot to amend our Charter to create the position of County Executive.

The races for Governor, Attorney General, Comptroller, United States Senate, and Congress will draw the most attention throughout the state.

Political seasons are always exciting and intriguing, so let this one begin.

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