Newburgh councilwoman plans Larkin challenge

Newburgh City Councilwoman Gay Lee emerged as a Democratic challenger for state Sen. Bill Larkin Wednesday night when Orange County Democrats gathered at the Holiday Inn in the Town of Wallkill to endorse candidates for this year’s elections.

Larkin, a Cornwall-on-Hudson Republican who has served in the Assembly and Senate since 1979, is seeking his eighth Senate term in November. Until Wednesday night, it was unclear which Democrat if any would contest his reelection bid, despite a considerable Democratic enrollment advantage in the 39th Senate District since lawmakers redrew legislative lines in 2012.

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Hinchey backs Cahill in Assembly reelection bid

Challenged for his seat by fellow Democrat and New Paltz Supervisor Susan Zimet, Assemblyman Kevin Cahill of Kingston has wheeled out an endorsement by the liberal lion who preceded him in the Assembly before moving on to Congress: retired Rep. Maurice Hinchey.

“As you’ve heard me say many times, I believe Kevin is one of the brightest, most dedicated, most ethical legislators in Albany,” Hinchey said in a press release from Cahill’s campaign. “He has been, and will continue to be, a true friend of the working man and woman – - fighting to lower state income taxes on families while insisting that the wealthiest among us pay their fair share.”

According the release, Hinchey, who retired in 2012, made that statement in a letter to Democratic committee members in Ulster and Dutchess counties. Cahill and Zimet are competing for the Democratic nomination for the 103rd Assembly District.

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Dems endorse Serrano for Assembly race (updated x 2)

Krystal Serrano won the endorsement of the Orange County Democratic Committee Wednesday night in her bid for the vacant 98th Assembly District seat, overcoming a late challenge from fellow Monroe resident Elisa Tutini.

Weighted voting totals were not immediately available. The Assembly contest was the only upcoming race with more than one Democrat competing for party support at the endorsement convention, held at the Holiday Inn in the Town of Wallkill.

[Update: The weighted voting tally was 3,690 for Serrano and 2,144.5 for Tutini, according to county Democratic Chairman Jonathan Jacobson. Tutini has confirmed she plans to compete against Serrano for the Democratic nomination in a Sept. 9 primary.]

[Update #2: Serrano's campaign announced Friday that Rockland County Democrats endorsed her at their own convention Thursday night.]

Serrano, who announced her Assembly campaign in January, is a community outreach and government affairs coordinator for Healthfirst, a managed care organization that provides medical coverage to more than 900,000 people in New York and New Jersey, according to the company’s website.

“My campaign is about PUTTING PEOPLE FIRST,” Serrano said in a statement Thursday. “My life has been devoted to helping people, and I am determined to run a campaign devoted to economic justice, protecting the rights of everyone, continuing to support women’s equality, ethics reform and protecting our environment.”

Three Republicans — Karl Brabenec, Dan Castricone and Michael Morgillo — are running for the same Assembly seat, vacated by Annie Rabbitt in January after she became county clerk. Brabenec recently won the Republican Party’s endorsement, while Castricone has picked up the backing of the Conservative Party and the citizens groups United Monroe and Preserve Ramapo.

The 98th District covers the Orange County towns of Deerpark, Greenville, Minisink, Monroe, Warwick and Tuxedo, the City of Port Jervis, and part of the Town of Ramapo in Rockland county.

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Preserve Ramapo backs Castricone in Assembly race (updated)

Former Orange County Legislator Dan Castricone has confirmed his intent to wage a Republican primary for the 98th Assembly District seat while touting the endorsement of the Preserve Ramapo citizens group, which is active in the Rockland County part of the district.

Castricone, one of three Republicans competing to run for the seat Annie Rabbitt vacated in January, has won the Conservative Party and United Monroe party endorsements, but lost the GOP endorsement to Deerpark Supervisor Karl Brabenec at an Orange County Republican convention last week. The third candidate, Michael Morgillo of Monroe, skipped the convention after saying party leaders had snubbed him, and vows to compete in a primary as well.

In a press release from Castricone, Preserve Ramapo Chairman Robert Rhodes said, “Dan is the obvious choice for us. Dan is the only candidate with any ties at all to Rockland County, which makes up over 20% of this district. He has great ideas for fixing the economy, keeping government open and honest, and he is the only one running who has shown the ability and the will to stand up to the block (sic) vote and special interests.”

On the Democratic side, Krystal Serrano of Monroe is running for the Assembly seat. Orange County Democrats will gather tonight to endorse candidates for this year’s elections.


Castricone released a new statement today that underscores his commitment to run in a primary and warns that Republicans could lose the Assembly seat “if we do not nominate a candidate who can win. I am the only one who has assembled the coalitions required; the Conservative line, the support of United Monroe, and serious support in Rockland County. It is a mathematical fact that all are essential in order to win the November election.”

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Maloney finishes four-day Afghanistan trip

U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney has returned from a four-day trip to Afghanistan, where he and five other Congress members met with American and Afghan troops troops in Kabul and at Bagram Air Field and were briefed by military, political and intelligence officers and foreign aid workers.

“Afghanistan is at a critical crossroads with the upcoming Presidential election and ongoing negotiations of a Bilateral Security Agreement which must be signed by the new President immediately,” the Cold Spring Democrat said in a statement Tuesday. “As we move forward, we must preserve the significant gains and achievements made in the past 12 years against al Qaeda and its extremist allies while properly and safely transferring control to the Afghans.”

The other House members making the trip were Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Patrick Murphy (D-FL), John Barrow (D-GA), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), and Pete Gallego (D-TX).

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Krahulik vows GOP Family Court primary

Edged out by David Hasin for the Republican endorsement for Family Court judge last week, Christine Krahulik has announced she’ll compete for the Republican nomination in September and seek the Conservative and Independence Party ballot lines as well.

Krahulik, a Family Court support magistrate, said in a press release that she had trailed Hasin by only seven weighted votes out of “more than 1,700 cast” on the third ballot,  and led in the first polling of Republican committee members at the GOP’s May 21 convention. The committee had reported the results afterward as 51 percent to 49 percent in favor of Hasin, a Woodbury town justice.

Krahulik touted her experience in Family Court as a reason to challenge Hasin for the Republican nomination in a Sept. 9 primary.

“All Orange County Republicans deserve a voice in this process and I cannot, in good conscience, deny them the right to be heard,” she said. “The rank and file voters should have the option of supporting the most qualified candidate who knows the job and can do the job starting on day one. I am the only candidate who can make that claim.”

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Eachus rules out Larkin rematch

Orange County Legislator Chris Eachus said Friday that he’ll forgo a challenge this year against state Sen. Bill Larkin, the veteran lawmaker he lost to by 5 percentage points in 2012 — a squeaker in comparison to past Larkin landslides.

Eachus, a New Windsor Democrat, said he had decided that defeating an incumbent with reduced voter turnout in a non-presidential election would be too difficult. The vote tallies in the 2012 race were 54,921 for Larkin and 49,746 for Eachus.

Larkin’s 39th Senate District, which encompasses much of Orange County and pieces of Ulster and Rockland, seems promising for Democrats, who hold a 13,000-voter enrollment edge over Republicans. But as of Friday, with five days to go before the Orange County Democrats’ endorsement convention, the party had no one lined up to challenge the 86-year-old senator, who plans to run again in November.

Larkin, a state legislator since 1979, had almost $188,000 in his campaign coffers as of January.

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Brabenec, Hasin win GOP endorsements (updated)

Orange County Republicans, picking their preferred candidates in two races with multiple GOP contenders, endorsed Deerpark Supervisor Karl Brabenec for an open Assembly seat and Woodury Town Justice David Hasin for Family Court judge Wednesday night.

Brabenec beat former county Legislator Dan Castricone by 55 percent to 44 percent in weighted voting for the 98th Assembly District seat that Annie Rabbitt vacated in January to become county clerk. A third Republican candidate, Michael Morgillo, skipped the convention and vowed to wage a primary in September, saying that party leaders had given him no chance to win support among committee members.

Castricone, who already has the endorsements of the United Monroe and Conservative parties, also has promised to compete in a Republican primary, indicating a potential three-way nomination race for that seat on Sept. 9.

Hasin edged out Christine Krahulik, a Family Court support magistrate, by 51 percent to 49 percent to win the party’s blessing in the Family Court race. Kevin Gomez, a Middletown attorney and Republican, also has been campaigning to replace retiring Family Court Judge Andrew Bivona. It’s unclear if Krahulik or Gomez plan to run in a Republican primary.

(Update: James Booth, secretary for the Republican Committee, has clarified that both Gomez and Victoria Campbell, a Port Jervis judge and Republican Family Court candidate who had gotten the Conservative Party endorsement, both withdrew their names from consideration before Wednesday’s endorsement vote. Hence the two-way contest between Hasin and Krahulik.)

On the Democratic side, Krystal Serrano of Monroe has been campaigning for the 98th Assembly District seat, and Christine Stage of Warwick is running for Family Court judge. Orange County Democrats will hold their endorsement convention in Middletown on Wednesday.


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Maloney cheers passage of water infrastructure bill

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney is cheering the Senate’s passage today of a $12.3 billion water infrastructure bill and highlighting a section he sponsored that would set aside funding for dam safety improvements.

“We get results when we work together in a bipartisan fashion, and focus on real problems like investing in our crumbling infrastructure,” Maloney, D-Cold Spring, said in a statement. “On its way to becoming law, the Dam Safety Act and the larger Water Resources Reform and Development Act are good examples of what Congress should be doing to create jobs, grow our local economy, and keep Hudson Valley families safe.”

The Senate voted 91-7 in support of the WRRDA, sending it to the White House for President Obama’s signature. The House passed the same bill on Tuesday by a 412-4 vote.

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Democratic Women of Sullivan County holding dinner May 27

The newly-formed group Democratic Women of Sullivan County are having their first general membership dinner meeting on May 27.

Pat O’Dwyer, of Chester, the president of New York State Democratic Women and the party’s candidate for Orange County executive in 2009, will be the keynote speaker.

It will be at 7 p.m. at Frankie and Johnnie’s in Hurleyville. Reservations are required; attendance and dinner are $13, and people must RSVP by Friday to Donna Schick at

They held their kickoff meeting in late April.

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