I have always normally voted against incumbent office-holders, as a matter of principle, because power corrupts, and rotation in office is democratically healthy. This has generally meant voting against liberal Democrats (for me, an added reason).
I made an exception for Daniel Patrick Moynihan – one of the last exemplars of true statesmanship.
Now, another rare exception: Assembly member Patricia Fahy. Not a product of the old Albany machine (I wrote the 1973 book about it), nor ideological, but an independent person who actually seems to be in it to do good. I did check out her Republican opponent’s website, which mentions his participation in an anti-Monsanto demonstration. A sufficient disqualification, for me.
In other races, the Trump factor mangles my usual calculus. Democratic U.S. Senator Schumer is highly partisan and ideological, and a shameless publicity hound; but his GOP opponent is a crass Trump enthusiast. Thankfully, there’s a Libertarian alternative I can vote for, Alex Merced.
Congressman Paul Tonko is also very partisan and ideological. His face often appears in that Friday newspaper page with photos of high-tone local social shindigs. His GOP opponent, in their debate, nattered on with Trumpist garbage about jailing Hillary. Feh. No endorsement. Maybe I’ll write in Mickey Mouse.
There is one Republican challenger I gladly support: Christopher Davis, running against longtime State Senator Neil Breslin, a textbook example of the kind of old pol I always vote against on principle. Davis has an impressive background as a healthcare industry professional. And his website notes he participated in Gary Johnson’s 2012 Libertarian presidential campaign!
There’s also a ballot question on county charter revisions. Once again this is a self-serving deal by county legislators to avoid needed reforms — including refusing to allow voters to reduce their ridiculous overstaffing. Vote no.
City Court Judge William Carter is running for County Judge, unopposed. Nevertheless, I recommend against him. After the “99%” protests, he tried to force the District Attorney to prosecute protesters. Even I knew a judge cannot do that. It was completely inappropriate and just plain stupid. Carter was slapped down by higher courts. I cannot fathom this guy being promoted.
In the neighboring 19th Congressional District, John Faso is the Republican candidate. Watching him for decades, I was impressed with his upstanding manner of politics. He has squirmed about Trump, with obvious distaste, without being willing to explicitly disendorse him. I will give Faso a pass on that, based on his long prior record, and the fact that now, more than ever, we’ll really need some sane and responsible Republicans in Congress. Yet I must say this campaign, by both sides, is deplorable, dominated by attack ads having only a tenuous relationship with truth. Increasingly common, this pollutes our civic environment and turns people off about politics. Indeed, it’s part of why so many Americans have become so disaffected. But the ultimate blame for such campaign tactics lies with voters, who fall for them.