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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December 12th, 2019

2020 Countywide Races Take Center Stage as New Legislature Begins Forming Government…..Galligan/LaBauda DA Match Might Be On Horizon….. County Court Judge Race Wide Open

In just three short weeks our new legislature will be in place, District Attorney Jim Farrell will be sworn in as our new County Court Judge and Russell Reeves will become our County Clerk.

Even more quickly, political leaders will be busy scrambling for candidates for the 2020 election cycle as party conventions and petitioning is moved up because primaries are now held in June instead of September.


We are headed for a big year in Sullivan County with elections for District Attorney, County Court Judge, State Senator, State Assembly, Congressman, and President.

On top of all that, March will see elections for Mayor and two Trustee positions in Monticello, and two trustee positions in the Village of Liberty.

It appears that newly elected legislator Robert Doherty who is replacing Scott Samuelson will become the Chairman of the Legislature replacing Luis Alvarez, and Michael Brooks who is replacing Mark McCarthy will become Vice-Chairman replacing Nadia Rajsz.

This all went down Sunday night after a Roast Beef dinner held at the home of Republican County Chairman Dick Coombe.

Although incumbents Luis Alvarez, Joe Perrello, and Nadia Rajsz wanted the chairmanship, legislator Alan Sorensen stunned incumbents when he went with the newly elected Republicans for positions of leadership, despite telling them days prior he would support an incumbent coalition for leadership. Sorenson will remain Majority Leader.

Republican Doherty won election with the backing of some known Democrats who were opposed to Samuelson. He campaigned against the proposed Visitors Association, supports the moving of 911 back to the Sheriff’s Department, and is a strong critic of the IDA even though one of his personal attorneys is IDA counsel Walter Garigliano. Legislators Ira Steingart and Joe Perrello serve on the IDA board.

In the world of politics nothing is set in stone, and things can change dramatically before the reorganizational meeting on January 3, 2020.

Joe Perrello told me that he is still trying to convince the newly elected legislators that he should be chairman arguing that “they need someone with experience to lead the legislative body.”


The two big Countywide elections in Sullivan County in 2020 will be for County Court Judge and District Attorney.


County Court Judge Michael McGuire is not expected to seek reelection leading some well-known and formidable attorneys positioning themselves to run for the judgeship which includes Family Court and Surrogate.

On the Democrat side, respected and well-liked attorney Michael Mednick, Bethel Town Judge Cindy Barber who ran for the position ten years ago, and Mamakating Judge Cynthia Dolan who lost against Farrell for County Court Judge are the leading contenders. Legal Aid head Tim Havas as well as attorney John Ferrara are also being mentioned.

On the Republican side the two front runners are Sullivan County Bar Association president Danielle Jose-Decker and Town of Thompson Judge Sharon Jankiewicz.

It will be interesting to see who ultimately emerges in what is expected to be a wide-open race for County Court Judge if McGuire does not seek reelection.


Chief Assistant District Attorney Megan Galligan a registered Democrat has already announced her candidacy for District Attorney. She will become the acting District Attorney once Farrell leaves office.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has the option to appoint Galligan to the position, as she has an honorable record as a prosecutor and would become Sullivan County’s first female District Attorney.

Retiring County Court Judge Frank LaBuda is also said to be interested in the District Attorney position. He threw out a hint at his retirement dinner last week that it might not be over for him.

LaBuda cannot formally announce or publicly discuss the District Attorney race because he is still a sitting Judge. Reportedly he is saying things privately to people like, “I have no campaign, but an awful lot of Support out there for Something!”

Several of his staunch supporters including former Sullivan County Democratic Chair Donna Schick are lobbying Cuomo to appoint him District Attorney.

Cuomo rarely makes such appointments. He instead lets the Acting District Attorney stay until an election is held and lets the voters decide. It indeed would be a great day for Sullivan County if Galligan is appointed by Governor Cuomo.

Those pushing LaBuda are claiming that he is one of the few Democrats that can win a Countywide election. They forget the past two times he ran for reelection he ran unopposed.

Sources say LaBuda will most likely primary Galligan for the Democratic nomination. This would be a terrible mistake.

After a lengthy run as our County Court Judge, LaBuda should not be seeking a new public career as our District Attorney at age 71. He should instead be embracing the candidacy of Meagan Galligan as our next chief prosecutor.

Galligan has a glowing resume, is highly a respected, and can revitalize and unite the Democratic Party in Sullivan County.

She has successfully prosecuted some of the most serious felony offenses committed in Sullivan County, including homicide, sexual offenses against children, violent robbery, narcotics conspiracies and trafficking, and weapons possession and use. That is why law enforcement has already embraced her candidacy.

Hopefully Democrats will unite behind Meagan Galligan and there won’t be a messy June primary.

On the Republican side, a leading name for District Attorney might be Mike McGuire, but he might not want to seek that position right now and instead keep his future political options open.


Democratic incumbents, Congressman Antonio Delgado, State Senator Jen Metzger, and Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther will all be up for reelection. There are already announced Republicans from out of our area running for Delgado’s and Metzger’s seat. Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro appears to be the Republican frontrunner against Delgado. 

Delgado, Metzger, and Gunther have proven records in delivering for Sullivan County. All three have offices here with excellent constituent service. We should all be proud to have them representing us.


The big draw in the 2020 election cycle will obviously be the race for President. It will all start with a Democratic Presidential Primary in April.

Ten thousand more voters are expected to turnout in Sullivan County in November 2020. We can expect a lot of excitement in the days, weeks, and months ahead.

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself on 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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