LIVINGSTON COUNTY — The recent surprise party switch by Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley, as reported by news partner 13WHAM, has caused a ripple effect of concern into Livingston County with the political horizon filled with potential races.
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Livingston County is not immune to candidates switching party lines when in the 2005 Judicial Election, Livingston County Judge Dennis Cohen from Republican to Democrat after losing Republican designation to Lou Colella. Judge Cohen then ran as a Democrat, where he was victorious. Since his victory, he has switched back to the Republican Party.
The Republican Party has already set their committee nominating meeting for May 2015, and according to Republican Committee Chair Lowell Conrad they will nominate a candidate in an open vote. In last year’s Livingston County Sheriff’s race, the party opted not to nominate a candidate.
“If a candidate feels they are comfortable with the other parties philosophy over their existing one, then they are welcome change party lines,” said Livingston County Republican Chair Lowell Conrad.
Political insiders anticipate that there will be a minimum of three judicial candidates which lays out the potential for other candidates who are willing to switch party lines. For Livingston County Democrat Party Chair Judith Hunter she sees a switch like DA Doorley’s as more of an offense to the volunteers that worked so hard on her campaign.
“I’m sure Sandra Doorley’s switch is a disappointment to all Democrats in Monroe County, but especially to those people who worked so hard to get her elected. It seems like a real breach of faith with those who made it possible for her to be in office in the first place,” said Hunter. “It’s easy to forget that elections are won by teams of people, many of whom give hours of volunteer time to knock on doors and do the nitty-gritty work of campaigns, not just by individual candidates. And, of course, voters take a candidate’s party into account when casting their ballots. Doorley seems to feel other considerations outweigh these things, unfortunately.”
At this time, it is not yet known if the Democrats will produce a candidate of their own or cross-endorse one of the Republican Candidates. The last candidate that the Democrats presented for election in a contested race was Livingston County District Attorney Greg McCaffrey.
“In any case, where an elected official leaves one party for another,” said Hunter. “Occasionally, it works, but such people tend not to be fully trusted in their new party, while they have burned their bridges with their old party, and voters are left wondering what core beliefs such an official actually has.”