The Libertarian Party of New York has successfully put candidates on the ballot all across upstate New York. With no formal ballot access, the party organizes to defy the state with candidates committed to defending New York’s liberties from increasingly tyrannical governments in Albany and locally. And by targeting upstate races within a minor party’s deployable resources, the Libertarian Party of New York is set to increase the number of elected officials under its banner. Most of the party’s local candidates only need around 1,000 votes to win, making the dynamics of these elections different than typical third party campaigns.
The party’s incumbents, Sherman Village Trustee Ryan Sanders and Prattsburgh Councilwoman Angela Einwachter, have been long trusted pillars of responsible and limited governance. The strength of their reelection campaigns, with Trustee Sanders not having any opposition on the ballot despite the ease of running for Village Trustee, shows that when Libertarians win office they produce the sorts of changes that New Yorkers have been seeking for from the political system. As Councilwoman Einwachter put it, “I will continue to draw on the party’s principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility in my decision making. As a steward of taxpayer dollars, I feel it is important to keep spending confined so as not to abuse the funds we have levied from residents.”
Further west, the Town of Marilla has a full slate of Libertarians running for office. Residents have been concerned for a long time about the land seizures and environmentally unsustainable practices of the large solar companies trying to operate in the town and the Libertarian Party is standing with them. Marilla’s Libertarian slate, consisting of incumbent Supervisor Earl A. Gingerich, Jr. and challengers Wendy Schoenwetter for Council and Sharon Lee Forersch for Clerk, also believe the risk of overpaying for government expenses during times of inflation compels a need for extra scrutiny over town spending. Otherwise, the cost of financing could strain Marilla’s sales tax-free budget.
They continue the trend of opposing the duopoly that was started with Marilla’s Patriot Party in 2021, which put Supervisor Gingerich in office despite opposition from the GOP establishment. They are joined by the LPNY’s 1st Vice-Chair, Duane Whitmer, who is running a campaign for Erie County Executive to give countywide support to Marilla’s candidates and provide exposure to the anti-mandate, localist ideas that have put the Libertarian Party on the map in the town.
The Party is running on a strong defiance agenda across the state, including Wendi Szabo of Royalton running for her town council to be a block on tax increases, spending increases, and unconstitutional mandates. Further east, Syracuse University’s Professor Emeritus and LPNY Secretary Dr. Mark Braiman in Cazenovia has committed to do everything in his power to defund enforcement of the state’s dangerous gas hookup ban. If Albany had its way with this ban, the residents of New York’s colder upstate towns would be facing dangerous temperatures without their most economical way to stay warm. As he told Eagle News Online, if the legislature won’t allow the town to opt out of the ban, “we should try to make this element of the housing code locally unenforceable, perhaps by eliminating the paid position of codes enforcement officer and assigning that responsibility to a town councilor. I would volunteer.” Instead of abusing state power to ban the heating people need, Dr. Braiman wants to make his town more sustainable by using nearby Cazenovia Lake’s plentiful water to supply hydroelectric power to the town. Both candidates only need to win one of two open seats, forcing what were supposed to be sleepy races into competitive fights.
To his south, former County Legislature candidate Craig Colwell is door knocking to win his Elmira City Council election to join incumbent Nick Grasso. Together, they want to stop the town practice of selling contracts out to politically connected bidders, ensure town meetings allow public participation, and fight tax increases that risk making Elmira less affordable.
Former State Senate Candidate Thomas Quiter is running similarly for Supervisor of Guilford. Wheelchair bound since he was young, his fights against the flawed policies of the state disability system have developed a passion in him for fighting to represent people against an unfair system. His town is still reeling from the difficult fight over a large windmill project that proved very controversial, and if elected he pledges to make sure the community is fully involved in the decision making for this and future projects with the town.
His race is especially unusual, with the retiring incumbent Supervisor backing a Democrat running as an independent against a Republican that is seem by some as divisive. This environment of political shenanigans leaves the town’s regular residents unrepresented by either major party offering, a need that Mr. Quiter intends use his experience founding the disability-access nonprofit The Mobility Independence Foundation to fill. And with a win total of around 600 votes, it’s a race that’s winnable.
Mr. Quiter is a unique candidate, but his running to offer representation to the unrepresented is a signature role of the Libertarian Party. His original run for State Senate District 52 had him as the only opposition to incumbent Fred Akshar, perhaps best-known outside of the district for preying on the mother of a murder victim during his time as a police officer investigating her daughter’s death. If it weren’t for Mr. Quiter and the Libertarian Party, there would’ve been no one to oppose him.
In some places, the system has gotten so lazy that it is only Libertarians running at all. Hailing from the small northern town of Ava in Oneida County are Kathleen and Keith Redhead for Tax Collector and Supervisor, both unopposed with neither legacy party bothering to even provide the illusion of engagement with the community. An hour south, Lafayette’s Craig Shute provides the only opposition to the GOP’s chosen candidate for Supervisor. Ms. Sazbo of Royalton is the only opposition to the GOP in her town as well.
Yates County is the home of a uniquely strong slate of candidates for county legislature in the third district who are running similar pro-transparency campaigns to bring major decisions back into the hands of the people. Phil Rahr, President of Friends of the Outlet, which helps manage the Keuka Outlet Trail in the Finger Lakes, wants to ensure that local projects require community referendums instead of just board approval. Like his fellow ballotmates Janice Enos and Jeff Bradley, the building of a very costly highway building for $26 million inspired them to run so that future projects are better understood by the county and decided by the residents, not the politicians. Yesterday their county party held its inaugural Liberty Rocks alternate rock music festival to support its slate of candidates. Their hurdle to clear? At least one candidate getting around 700 votes to fill at least one out of four open seats, a far cry from 270 electoral votes.
With several incumbents and a host of new candidates running strategically across the state, the Libertarian Paty of New York represents the only organized force with the people and plan to bring noncompliance to halls of New York’s local governments. We hope you vote for us this November to take power back from Albany and into your communities.