Last night, the Rockland Democratic Committee gathered at the Clarkstown Town Hall to nominate candidates for State Senate (38th and 39th Districts) and four candidates for State Assembly seats. And yes, that usually is as uneventful as it sounds. There was, however, a surprise for one of the more recognizable faces standing in line to be inaugurated. And that surprise prompted a quick side-step by the Committee Officials. David Carlucci wasn’t named the official candidate for the Senate Seat he has held for eight years.
There had been some talk of a group of committee members showing up to nominate Julie Goldberg to run on the Democratic line for Carlucci’s seat. Ms. Goldberg was selected by a coalition of Democratic Committee members from three towns, Clarkstown, Orangetown, and Ramapo. They had initiated a search for a candidate to replace Carlucci, and that search lasted five months, during which several candidates were considered. The coalition had reached their limits on the incumbent senator who had established himself as a founding member of the IDC (Independent Democratic Conference). As an elected Democrat, Carlucci refused to caucus with his own party, crossing the aisle to join the Republicans in the State Senate.
The first sign of the strength of last night’s turnout for Goldberg was visible in the number of those wearing large round lapel stickers bearing her name.
Then there was the 45-minute delay as the County Chairwoman had to go through the stacks of proxy requests from those Committee members who were not present but who had filled out a paper giving their vote to an attending member who would now be entitled to two votes in the selection of candidates. Four runners took the extra votes, written on green cards, from Chairwoman Stavisky, and for almost an hour fanned out in the auditorium delivering second votes to many in audience.
For the other candidates, the process of getting on the Democratic line on the ballot was simple. Someone nominated them (a speech), there was a second (another speech), and then there was the acceptance (speech). Some had two seconding motions (additional speech).
When the Chair got to the 38th Senate District there were two speakers, not three or four, and no nominations or seconds were heard. Instead, Julie Goldberg was invited to speak about her reasons for running. She did, and the reaction from the committee members in the audience was loud and enthusiastic. Carlucci was then asked to say a few words, and he did, but the response from the audience was much more subdued.
Then, as Carlucci returned to his seat, Chairwoman Stavisky took two quick steps to the side and moved on to call for nominations for the next position on the ballot. No decision on who would run in the 38th District on the Democratic Line.
It’s not possible to say what the result would have been if a voice vote was called deciding between Goldberg and Carlucci, but it certainly looked like the Committee officials weren’t willing to test the incumbent’s weakness last night.
So, it looks like there will be a primary contest in September to settle who gets the Democratic line for the Senate Seat in District 38.
A few closing notes. The problem with Carlucci selling out his seat to an opposing political party is not the only baggage he is dragging into this new election season. East Ramapo school activists have frequently been frustrated by his votes or refusal to support their issues. Preserve Ramapo also has a list of grievances with education and other key matters on which he has remained silent. We ask that you please consider Julie Goldberg as an energetic and principled replacement for what we see as a potential political lifer, now focused primarily on his career.
In the following weeks we will be presenting more information on this contest and several other candidates, as well.