BERNE – The Republican Committee of Berne has nominated its candidates for this year’s elections, minus two municipal judges who declined the nomination.
Outgoing judges Alan Zuk and Albert Raymond were appointed by the GOP after previously being appointed by the Democratic and Conservative parties. Zuk is a Democrat and Raymond is a Tory, according to county voters lists.
Zuk, who was appointed to the post in 2012 and has since been re-elected twice, told The Enterprise he has turned down GOP nominations in the past.
“Just to be consistent, I turned it down again this time,” Zuk said. When asked if the decision was ideologically related, Zuk said yes, adding, “I’m a Democrat.”
“We’re taking the high road,” Zuk said, referring to himself and Raymond. “We are judicial candidates. We are a little removed from the political fray.
When The Enterprise noted that refusing a nomination to a political party could be interpreted as a political act, Zuk said, “Well I refused in the past and I refused it this time, so that’s my declaration.”
Zuk had served Bern as a municipal judge for four years before being elected supervisor in 1985. He held that position for 16 years before being ousted by Kevin Crosier, a Democrat who challenged Zuk on the GOP line and won. Croisier now chairs the Democratic Committee of Bern.
Raymond could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, the GOP will not replace Raymond and Zuk with other candidates, and it is presenting the issue on social media as Democratic hypocrisy, due to Democrats erecting signs that promote cooperation within the city.
“Alan Zuk would never have accepted it anyway,” Albany County GOP chairman and former Republican Party of Berne chairman Randy Bashwinger told The Enterprise. “We just thought we were going to try to work with them. The great signs [put up by Democrats] who say “Bern works together” are kind of a joke.
“From what I understand,” Bashwinger said, “they were told they were not allowed to accept the nomination of Republicans.”
Croisier denied that the candidates were ordered to decline the nominations.
Of the lack of candidates for justice, Bashwinger said the party “is not really going to focus on it”, and that Zuk and Raymond are the “right candidates for the positions, and this is one of the reasons for which we were going to go through – approve them, because we don’t necessarily need to fill those places for the change.These are two good candidates.
“It’s just very sad to see, but it’s politics,” Bashwinger said. “… It should be about the people, not the party.” ”
In total, the Republican Party of Bern has appointed:
– Dennis Palow, City Council Member for City Overseer;
– City council member Leo Vane for the city council;
– Tom Doolin for the city council;
– City Clerk Anita Clayton for City Council; and
– Incumbent Randy Bashwinger for Superintendent of Highways.