The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

September 25, 2013

Honestly, Otsego treasurer's race is a total mess

The Daily Star

---- — When it comes to cynics, it’s hard to top Diogenes of Sinope, the ancient Greek philosopher who carried a lamp in the daytime, he said, in search of an honest man.

Diogenes would have a tough time trying to find anyone involved with the upcoming election for treasurer of Otsego County who has been totally honest.

With one possible exception, which we’ll get to later.

In 2009, Dan Crowell became the first Democrat in memory to win an Otsego County-wide election, just edging out Republican Edward Keator, 6,305 votes to 6,149.

A strange Kabuki dance began in January, when Crowell announced that he had every intention to run for re-election in November, despite his active-duty commitment to the U.S. Army Reserves.

While Crowell has been away on a leave of absence, Russ Bachman became acting treasurer, and expressed no intentions to run for the office against Crowell and a Republican candidate.

Then, in July, Crowell announced that given his Army commitment, he wouldn’t be running for re-election, after all. The trouble with that was his decision came two weeks after the July 15 deadline for removing his name from the ballot.

Then Bachman launched a petition campaign to get his name on the ballot as an independent. He had the backing of county Democrats and produced lots of names. The trouble was, a Republican lawsuit revealed that many of them had also appeared on Crowell’s earlier petitions, rendering Bachman’s invalid.

Crowell said he found it ironic that Republicans would try so hard to disqualify Bachman, because they had earlier asked the popular Crowell to run on their ballot line.

So, here’s the situation:

Crowell, who presumably was telling the truth when he said he didn’t have enough time to be treasurer, remains on the ballot as the Democratic candidate and says he want to be re-elected.

County Democrats, who wanted to back Bachman, now embrace Crowell as their guy.

“If elected, I would serve to the extent my obligations would allow, and exactly as is currently taking place, ensure there is stability in a seamless and capable leadership if and when other duties arise,” Crowell said.

Presumably, that means he’ll advocate Bachman keep his office seat warm while Crowell’s away.

Otsego Republicans, who were more than ready to throw Keator under the bus in favor of Crowell, now are backing Keator.

As we see it, the only one from both parties who has been totally honest and above-board has been Ed Keator. He says he wants to be treasurer, and has sought the office without intrigue or obfuscation.

It’s too early for this newspaper’s endorsement, but we have a pretty good idea who would get Diogenes’ vote.