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Sullivan County judge race

Posted 11/6/19

MONTICELLO, NY — The River Reporter goes to press a few hours before the polls close in New York and Pennsylvania, so the election results will not be listed in this edition. The unofficial …

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Sullivan County judge race

Posted

MONTICELLO, NY — The race to become the Sullivan County Judge between Republican district attorney Jim Farrell and Democratic judge Cynthia Dolan became particularly bitter late in the campaign.

The dust-up started when a mailer began landing in Sullivan on October 30, calling Dolan a “Westchester liberal elitist” and other slights.

Dolan’s campaign responded with a press release that said in part, “An illegal and offensive political mailer has been sent to Sullivan County voters attacking Judge Cynthia Dolan. The mailer is a collection of outright lies and campaign talking points her opponent has been using throughout the campaign.”

Farrell responded to that with his own statement that said in part, “Since the beginning of the race for county court judge, I have been silent about repeated attacks from my opponent and her election campaign team, and they have launched spurious allegations against me, including false claims that violent crime is up, and an allegation that the criminal justice system in Sullivan County is not working, is broken and needs to be changed. This was a direct attack on me as an integral part of the criminal justice system. I cannot be silent any longer.”

Judges are not supposed to disparage each other during a campaign. Steve Vegliante, chair of the Sullivan County Democratic Committee, felt Farrell’s letter was sufficiently out of bounds that he filed complaints with election officials and the New York State Attorney General.

Dick Coombe, chair of the Sullivan County Republican Committee, responded with a letter that said, among other things, “Jim has dedicated his professional career to the people of Sullivan County with 24 years of experience in criminal law and in county court. Jim is fair, showing no bias or prejudice. He is a dedicated public servant who is active in his community. Jim is the only candidate for county judge with real county court experience.”

Then along came another mailer—this one anonymous—urging people to skip the vote for county judge because it was necessary to keep Farrell in his current position as district attorney instead of making him a judge. It’s not clear who this mailer was intended to benefit, and it mostly served to muddy the waters. Dolan’s campaign rejected the mailer saying, “This type of political activity has no place in our elections.”

The Democratic Women of Sullivan County waded into the fray, attacking Farrell. It issued a social media statement that said, “Our sitting district attorney, who is now asking for your vote for Sullivan County Court Judge, has engaged in the most outrageous and disparaging comments against his opponent, the Honorable Cynthia Dolan.”

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