Sen. William Larkin Jr. failed to attend three joint appearances that were scheduled this week with his Democratic opponent, Chris Eachus, including debates the Times Herald-Record and Journal News had scheduled for them on Monday and Tuesday and a candidates forum held on Wednesday by the Orange County Shields, a law enforcement group.
“I am deeply disappointed that Senator Larkin continued in his refusal to participate in these events and I urge him to start participating in these essential forums which help educate the public,” Eachus said in a statement on Thursday about the incumbent’s absence. “The simple reality is, by refusing to participate in these events, Senator Larkin is disrespecting the residents of the Hudson Valley, our civic organizations and journalists, and they deserve better.”
Larkin, who lives in Cornwall-on-Hudson, has been a state legislator for 38 years and is seeking a 14th Senate term on Nov. 8. Eachus, an Orange County legislator and former physics teacher from New Windsor, is making his second attempt to unseat the longtime incumbent, having come within five percentage points of doing so in 2012. Their rematch race for the 39th Senate District could help determine which party controls the closely divided Senate next year.
Larkin’s spokesman has rebuffed and ignored all requests by the Times Herald-Record since last month to schedule a debate and interview, saying most recently by email that the senator’s “time and energy is currently focused on helping his constituents and reaching voters.” He didn’t respond on Friday to Eachus’ remarks about the three consecutive events Larkin didn’t attend. (Update: Larkin’s spokesman, Brian Maher, emailed this statement Friday evening: “The people know Senator Larkin’s track record of positive results for his district. He has received many endorsements from the law enforcement community and has their support because he continues to work hard and deliver real results. Four years ago he was re-elected and the people voted no to his opponent. Senator Larkin’s career in public service has always been and continues to be about the people he is able to help. That is why he has chosen to spend the last few weeks of this campaign reaching out to the people directly and asking for their vote. Instead of counting how many doors he has knocked on maybe Mr. Eachus should focus on counting how much money he neglected to disclose to the public on his financial disclosure report.”
Eachus announced Thursday that he had reached a campaign milestone by knocking on his 2,000th door, a home in Walden. The Senate district he is seeking to represent takes up about half of Orange County and parts of Ulster and Rockland.