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Portrait of a local election: an independent and third party perspective

This was posted at our blog, I realized that while the article is specific to Suffolk County, Long Island, New York, some of the themes and strategies might be interesting as a snapshot of independent and third party action in local elections. -Kimberly Wilder

Ian and Kimberly’s Somewhat Random Comments on the Upcoming 2009 Suffolk County Elections
[third party]

Kimberly went to the Suffolk County Board of Elections and filled out some Freedom of Information (FOIL) requests. One excellent set of papers she was able to get was a draft list of candidates.*

Ian and Kimberly Wilder
Ian and Kimberly Wilder

One of the most interesting items is that several candidates are listed under The Tea Party. Tea Parties have been demonstrations, portrayed as being grassroots, railing for reform, against taxes and against Obama. Though, with Tea Parties, there have seemed to be many connections to national right wing groups, and to Republicans. And, as a matter of fact, in Suffolk County, most of The Tea Party candidates are regular old Republican candidates. In fact, Thomas Barraga has filed for The Tea Party line, even though he is the incumbent, in the Suffolk County Legislator in District 11 race. (And a a former Assemblyman, and a legislator again before that. Hardly a bastion of change. -ISW)

People are filed under The Tea Party line for the Town of Islip races, and the following Suffolk County Legislative races in the Islip area: Districts 8, 10, [and Barraga in 11th see above]. (It seems like a desperate move by a failing Islip Republican Party to get some support. -ISW)

The prize for most exotic ballot line goes to Prudence Carabine, running on the “Bonac Beach” line for Town of East Hampton Councilperson. (Wow! The list gives the office as “Councilman”: Wonder if it is election law, the Town, or the BOE that are in the dark ages? -KW)

For the 14th Suffolk County Legislative District, the candidates who filed are: Cesar Malaga on the Green Party line; Mark Gallo on the Republican line; and Wayne Horsley, who is on the Democratic and several other lines.
[insert space]

Ben Zwirn was registered in the Green Party last time we looked. Though, he has also worked inside Democratic administrations. This election, Ben Zwirn is running on the Democratic and other party lines for Town of East Hampton Supervisor. Zwirn and his colleages used an interesting strategy, creating a slate with the independent ballot line “Common Ground.” Ben Zwirn is running on the following lines: Democratic, Working Families and Common Ground.

The Libertarians are running a slate of countywide candidates: Chris Garvey for District Attorney; Audrey Capozzi for Suffolk County Treasurer; and Richard Peter Fiorio for Sheriff.
[insert space]

The Integrity Party—which has sometimes endorsed lots of candidates during election seasons past—seems to have only filed for one candidate: incumbent Supervisor of the Town of Southampton, Linda Kabot.
[insert space]

In the Town of Babylon, the Republican Party has truly been absorbed, co-opted and washed out by the force of some powerful, monolithic Democratic officials. (Whom we have found to be ineffective and conservative, and who have a “God Bless Our Troops” sign hanging at Town Hall–which has been up since when the war still belonged to George Bush. In fact, the Democratic candidates are also running on the Conservative Party line.) The Town of Babylon Supervisor is Steve Bellone. And, the Democrats have invented a line called “The Bellone Team” to show who is on their side. Lindsay Henry—who used to be independent and run on the Republican line–is running again for council person, including on the “The Bellone Team” line.

There is lots of action happening in the Town of Shelter Island. We don’t know what it is about. Though, in addition to major party lines, various candidates are running on the “Shelter Island Taxpayer Protection”, and “Island Action” lines, as well as with the Independence Party, Working Families Party and Conservative Party lines.

For primaries of established parties with automatic ballot status, someone can file an “Opportunity to Ballot” [OTB] in that race. It opens up a write-in window. And, it also allows that a candidate not registered in that party can win the nomination of the party in a primary, without approval of the party leaders. It gives a great element of chaos and potential surprise to a primary. There are “Opportunity to Ballots” in the following races:
[insert space]

Suffolk County Legislature, District 11:
An OTB in the Working Families Primary.
[insert space]

Suffolk County Legislature, District 15:
An OTB in the Independence Party Primary.

Town of Brookhaven, Town Clerk:

An OTB in the Working Families Primary.

There are several races in Suffolk County where only one candidate has filed to run for that office. We think that situation is a horrible symptom of stringent petitioning requirements which intimidate citizen candidates from trying, and of public apathy about elections. And, also, it is very undemocratic of the two, allegedly “major parties” to not find candidates to put up. Wherever you find a one candidate race, we suggest writing someone in. There should be a pencil available at the polls, and you can ask a poll worker for help.


*About the list this is based on: The top of the list says “unofficial.” These are candidates listed at the BOE who are either in the general or the primary (ie: so some may lose the primary and not appear on a ballot) as of Thursday, August 20, 2009. This line-up does not take into account situations such as challenges which could knock people off the ballot.


  1. Richard Cooper Richard Cooper August 28, 2009

    Please indicate Suffolk County (MA). We have Suffolk County here in New York.

  2. LP Observer LP Observer August 25, 2009

    Poor Jakey poo can’t help himself. He’s strung out on meth. Yet another loser on the whiner/fraudster crew. Sean Haugh was very wise to fire these guys and warn everyone about them. They are bad news. Spread the word!

    “Paulie”, Jake, Andy, Gary, and their front man Mark Pickens are not to be hired. You would also be wise to ban them all from this site, like they did at Last Free Voice.

  3. Michael Seebeck Michael Seebeck August 24, 2009

    Jake, do us a favor and STFU, OK?

    Most of not only don’t give a flying fuck about your beef with Knapp, Andy or Gary’s beef with anyone, Clara Peller’s beef with Wendy’s, or any other non-meal beef WHEN IT’S NOT RELEVANT TO THE THREAD AT HAND!

    You want to blog all that? Fine, go right ahead, but for crying out loud, if it’s not on thread topic, then show some common sense and common courtesy and don’t put it on the thread!

  4. mdh mdh August 24, 2009

    It says ‘potrait’ in the title, not ‘portrait’.

  5. paulie paulie August 24, 2009

    Ideally, the moderator will snip Gary’s and my comments out and give them their own thread.

    There’s not really a moderator here. There are several of us who write here, and I don’t think that any of us are going to take the time to move comments around, even if it can be done. As far as I know, I can delete a comment, but I can’t move it to another thread – if I reposted something, it would appear under my name, not that of the person who wrote it.

  6. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi August 24, 2009

    Please fix “Portrait” in the headline…I say this as a native of Suffolk County!

  7. Jake Witmer Jake Witmer August 24, 2009

    Matt Harris is totally right: this is the wrong thread for this. Ideally, the moderator will snip Gary’s and my comments out and give them their own thread. Also, ideally in the future, Gary will simply add his comments to a relevant thread, or email them to the moderator and ask him to post them (it decreases the appearance of desperation, and increases the appearance of professionalism and topicality).

    That said,

    It doesn’t look like anyone in the LP cares about the LP. Part of caring about the LP would be to eliminate fraud and malfeasance within the LP. I think we (libertarian activists) should take our ball and go home, and let the backstabbers and fraud artists have the LP. Give them (and their statist infiltrators), the failure they obviously want.

    Either be done with the LP, and admit it is too easy to infiltrate (since it has no defense mechanisms or immune system preventing infiltration), or address and correct the standing issues. If this can’t be done, there is no reason to have a chairman or an executive director, since this responsiblity falls upon them.

    The LP is worthless if it is so easy for monied interests (who may or may not work for the state) to take it over. Obviously, the monied interests can see what the LP cannot: that the petitioning process represents a way for us to “accidentally” stumble upon political/electoral success. (If the same petitioners were to be in one area for a significant period of time, they could theoretically organize a fairly burgeoning movement there. In addition, they could circulate popular initiatives, and associate them with the Libertarian brand name, as Dick Randolph did to get elected in AK, in 1978, with his state income tax preemption petition.)

    Rather than allow that to happen, anyone who can spell the word libertarian (ie: represent the LP as libertarian) is now being purged from the LP. That this is happening blunderingly and fraudulently at the hands of simpletons like Haugh does not bother anyone –probably because they didn’t want freedom very much anyway.

    (Winning freedom by the political process is DIFFICULT, and takes a long, unbroken effort.)

    I think Boston T. Party has the right idea. Move to WY, get a job outside of politics, and make freedom work there, using a combination of party politics and “outside the box” ideas. Do it before the number of voters expands beyond the number that is possible to be influenced face-to-face, and we might just succeed.

    The National LP is full of infiltrators who want us out of the picture. Since there seems to be no caring for party structure, or integrity, or effort, or logic, I have no tools left with which to influence the LP. Let the statists (Bruce Cohen, Eric Dondero, Scott Kohlhaas, Sean Haugh, Russell Verney) have it. …Or fix it.

    Tom Knapp’s reply amounts to:
    “Gary, can’t you see you’re just annoying people?” (with issues like truth and integrity)

    He has a point.

    …C’mon Gary, just because Huagh was in a position of authority with a title that indicated his authority, and gave a direct command to someone beneath his title to defraud you and the Libertarian petition signers of Massachusetts, doesn’t mean that he could expect to be listened to! It was all harmless fun, his trying to interfere with your cyclical career so you’d be too broke to work for the LP on the next election cycle! …Lighten up and laugh!

    Haugh didn’t teleport himself to Massachusetts and personally burn the signatures, on video, so I guess there’s no malfeasance there!

    Seriously, if I am the CEO of a company, and I tell a subordinate to commit perjury, and that subordinate doesn’t commit perjury, then it’s all a big laugh right? I mean, “ha ha”, right? That subordinate would have committed a crime, and been on the hook for the damages caused by his actions, and I would have then been on the hook for giving the order, and both of our careers would have been tarnished with a prison sentence and a criminal record. …But since that subordinate knew enough to reject my malicious order to commit perjury, no harm, no foul, right?

    …That’s all that Knapp is saying!

    It’s a dangerous world! Ha ha! Better beware those in positions of power giving bad orders, even if they are in a position of authority, because the nuremburg defense, while not valid, IS indicting. (The nazi superiors were not let off the hook simply because their subordinates followed their orders. In fact, the subordinates were even held to a higher standard: the standard of reason. Moreover, the subordinates who refused to follow orders were considered exceptional heroes. Clearly, giving a bad order DOES constitute a crime. I’m amazed Knapp can’t see that in this case! Does he think it’s OK to harass people who have been longtime libertarian activists from a position of authority within the party, and interfere with logically anticipated work? If so, does he expect those activists to be there during the next election cycle? I don’t think so, because Knapp actually apologized to me during this last election cycle, for the wrongs committed against me during 2008. I don’t know why he now de-emphasizes the equally serious wrong attempted against Gary and the MA LP!)

    I guess that what Knapp is trying to say is this: Libertarians inhabit a parallel universe, where the standards to which we hold the major parties don’t apply to us, because we have a hip philosophy that not only allows us to treat minimum wage labor badly, but also allows us to smoke pot. Therefore, there’s nothing wrong with us abdicating our promises to you. We promised you (and the other libertarian activists) that you would be hired back first, for a job well done, but that was just “the free market of ideas”(lies, misdirection), taking advantage of your bad ideas (trust, integrity, honor, etc…). Our ideas, on the other hand, were quite profitable. For instance: “Take full advantage of those dumb enough to work for less money due to their ideology, then discard them when they are no longer needed!” (actually, “discard while still needed”, since they failed to access the ballot in 4 states and DC that we had previously worked.)

    Ha ha haugh! The joke’s on you, Gary. You worked more effectively and cheaply than other libertarians and expected your work history to speak for itself. But this is politics, and you underestimated the venality and backstabbing you would encounter within the LP. You didn’t think that other libertarians, like the apparently credulous Mr Knapp, would allow such criminal malfeasance in their own party.

    But they would, and did!

    Should it be a crime to burn petition signatures? Yes. If this were not the case, the major parties could do one simple thing to gaurantee we never made it on the ballot ever again: They could gather fake LP ballot access signatures every election cycle, and fail to turn them in (or even “burn them” as Haugh suggested). (Of course, this would deny electoral choice to the people who signed the petitions, thereby meaning they had been defrauded by the collector.) People would tell our legitimate petition circulators: “I already signed”, and the pool of signers would rapidly diminish to the point where we could not make it on the ballot. Any Libertarian who has not contemplated this is a strategic pollyanna, and not ready for the ugly battle that is electoral politics.

    Has there been any demand for the LP to clean up its act in writing, and take a stance that favors Gary’s position?


    Haugh got away with it. In fact, he got away with it while “libertarians” in the National office cheered him on. He now works for a rather unprincipled person named Christina Tobin, who didn’t have any problem with his criminal malfeasance. (Tobin was one of two nationwide coordinators for Ralph Nader in 2008.)

    Ironically, one hope for justice in this matter is in the part of the state apparatus that is now more libertarian than the Libertarian Party: The Massachusetts Government’s ability to prosecute the criminal fraud of Sean Haugh on behalf of the National LP.

    The Libertarian Party, by refusing to act with integrity and honor, has sown the seeds of its own destruction. They can’t even return a phone call, or have a conversation with logic and reason as their higher standard. Maybe Ayn Rand was right about “them”.

    It’s a disappointment, but I can’t say it was entirely unpredicted. There was evidence on my last trip to AZ that they were infiltrated, and that actually turned out to be the case. (Either that, or they simply don’t want to achieve political control of the state.)

    …To hell with them all. The credulous and gullible LP party membership will get all the failure they allow from the LP.

    Mr Knapp, in closing, I’d like to point out a flaw in your analogy. In your analogy,
    1) “You” are not the boss, nor even “next higher on the chain of command” person to the hypothetical Massachusetts legislator. Haugh was higher on the chain of command than the state LPers in MA. In fact, Haugh had given similarly destructive orders to many other state parties, and they had listened to his orders. Moreover, the order itself is the crime, not whether or not it was followed through with. Thank goodness Phillies had the LIBERTARIAN strength of character and mistrust of authority to refuse to follow a direct order from the National LP’s “Political Director” (even one that carried with it a direct and implicit threat of refusal of National LP funds.)
    2) In your analogy, your wife is not in the vicinity of the Massachusetts legislator. Both the object of the crime (the signatures) and Sean Haugh’s intended dupes (George Phillies and Carol McMahon) were in the same room. Given Sean’s very real position of command, and history of extreme mood swings, egomaniacal psychosis, and retaliation on behalf of Kohlhaas, the only thing that prevented the second crime from being carried out, was Phillies’ self-control.
    3) Free speech is not an element in this. That is a red herring. I understand you’re a speech purist, and so am I. But if I am the police chief and I say “shoot that man”, and one of my subordinates listens to me, then I am properly to be held accountable for the shooting of that man. Similarly, if your hypothetical Massachusetts state legislator has a history of shooting people’s wives when they ask him to, and you have a history of asking people to shoot your wife (and she’s been in and out of the hospital because of that fact), and you ask your legislator friend to shoot your wife, then yes, you would be culpable even if he did not do so. …ESPECIALLY if you were dumb enough to openly forward the email where you called for her assassination to several friends and acquaintances.

    Sean Haugh went to insane lengths to destroy all of the LP’s best petitioners’ reputations in 2008. He did so at the unthinking behest of Scott Kohlhaas, who was motivated by revenge, for the 2006 NE fiasco, where he defrauded Andy Jacobs, Mark Pickens, Paulie Cannoli, and Gary Fincher. …He played with your donor money while doing so, and was still being paid $5K per month from National, according to the FEC records, even WHILE he owed Andy $10,000. The final result of this mess was failure to access the ballot in 4 states and DC, and dramatically larger paychecks for both Haugh and Kohlhaas.

    To that extent, Haugh’s crimes were unpunishable ones, such as: helping to make the LP into a nonentity, wasting donor money, and interfering with the future success of the LP. If I were you, I’d be overjoyed that he actually ran afoul of the law in Massachusetts, since that’s probably the only way you have of holding him accountable at this late date.

    But, each to his own. I personally WANT the LP to have to follow the law, and honor its contracts, even if they are oral contracts, and easy to break.

    Of course, what I really want is for the National LP to no longer do business like a fly-by-night carnival. To that end, they should:
    1) Have petitioners sign contracts that come with carbon copies. The contract should come with a set completion date, and a contract completion form should then be issued. That way, if there are any problems, the State LP is forced to deal with them right then and there, (instead of their current practice of saying “Great work, we’d love to have you back!” …And then years later, when the people who don’t like a petitioner have had their way, and four years to slander them, they say “We never said that! You’re forbidden from working for us!”)
    2) There needs to be a conflict resolution method, in the form of a recorded, third party moderated conference call. This conference call needs to be emailed to people as an MP3, and needs to be archived at the National LP website, and available to all future LNC members. Again, this eliminates the chance that the person who is found to be in the wrong is later surprised with bogus accusations, as I was by the AZ LP in 2008.

    Those two protocol changes would go a long way to straightening out the LP and making it immune from infiltration. It would also indicate that they at least cared about their own integrity.

    Until then, best of luck to the Dartmough, MA police department in apprehanding the fugitive from justice, Sean Haugh. He currently works for the “Free and Equal Election Coalition” for Christina Tobin. Hopefully this information makes it easier for him to be found and prosecuted.

    Were he to be prosecuted, perhaps we could find out whether Kohlhaas and Haugh worked on their own to destroy the 2008 LP (on some kind of deranged power trip), or whether there were any state operatives whispering blackmail in their ears. That would be interesting.

    Perhaps it would also show the National Libertarian Party that trying to hush up a scandal can lead to the scandal simply growing larger and more annoying at a later date.

    The way that Haugh treated LP activists in 2008 had far-reaching consequences. He colluded with my blacklisting in AZ. My prior work in AZ still retains ballot access in Coconino County, AZ. It was good work, and I was proud of it.

    I still have not heard a reason why I am blacklisted from returning to work in AZ that holds up to any scrutiny. Here are the reasons listed, thus far:
    1) I gathered signatures at a University (considered “soft registrations”) for one day, when I had agreed to gather most of the registrations from rural areas (“hard registrations” that are not lost when students move away). This was a big deal when it happened. If they had fired me then, it would have been irrational, but instead, they clarified their position, and kept me hired and working. Indeed, I gathered ALL of the rest of the registrations from rural areas and the Flagstaff Wal Mart, as instructed. Noone else agreed to work even ONE DAY off campus (except at gun shows). Moreover, when I finished my work, I was asked to stay (although I couldn’t afford to, and left).
    2) They were upset that I left, without staying longer. (I couldn’t afford to stay, while making the money I was making. Was I supposed to derail my existence and move to AZ for good? I guess so.)
    3) A “slander” of me circulated among the AZ LP that I had recommended that a man whose wife had cancer sign up for cryonics. I did in fact, recommend this, with the intention of preventing her mind from being lost for all eternity. Apparently, this angered the man. I recommended the action with the intention of saving her life, using cutting-edge technology. The man apparently thinks cryonics is a scam (although I have no idea why he would think I was scamming him, since I stood to make no money off the arrangement), and disbelieves in its merit. Well, fine, but he goes against the ideas espoused by the leading scientific minds now on earth in his analysis. Moreover, I suspect religious dogma is at the core of his convictions. Try to do a good turn to a moron in AZ, get treated like a jerk. Whatever.
    4) A bunch of other slanders that hold up even less. Some of them started by Bruce Cohen, a notable neocon asshole from California who has leveled many insane allegations against longtime libertarian Marc Seltzer, and other LP activists there.

    In short, smarten up, LP. You have enough computer scientists in your membership rolls that you should be able to come up with a good system for preventing infiltration and corruption within your own party. At very minimum, you should be better able to resolve conflicts than you now are.

  8. Kimberly Wilder Kimberly Wilder August 22, 2009

    To Third Party –

    Many thanks for your interest. I thought about putting links at your suggestion. Though, one thing is that I am having serious wrist pain. Too much blogging! (Just bought a tilted key pad.)

    Also, when I was going to try to put in some links, I realized one of the first links would be to “The Tea Party” in Islip. And, really, I don’t think there is a web-site. It is just the Islip Republicans acting cute and honing in on a national trend. I think a lot of the groups mentioned don’t have stand-alone web-sites.

    About putting the results up after the election…

    I do hope to do that.

    But, if way leads unto way, people could check at the Suffolk County Board of Elections.

    Here is a link:

  9. Gary Fincher Gary Fincher August 22, 2009

    Duh – there was no other thread that provided an opening for this worthy and juicy tidbit. Duh.

  10. mdh mdh August 22, 2009

    And what the hell does that have to do with this thread on IPR? I mean, seriously. Obnoxious.

  11. Gary Fincher Gary Fincher August 22, 2009

    It appears that,? in certain physics equations, Density equals Mass over Knapp, or D=m/k

  12. Gary Fincher Gary Fincher August 22, 2009

    It appears that? in certain physics equations, Density equals Mass over Knapp, or D=m/k

  13. Gary Fincher Gary Fincher August 22, 2009

    I just HAD to post this (rolling eyes). Knapp, responding to the newest video on the Haugh/Tobin Axis:

    “100% unadulterated BS. Mr Haugh had neither the ability to burn the signatures himself, nor the ability to “instruct” anyone to do so. His statements are therefore no more a “crime” than if I, Thomas L. Knapp, a citizen of Missouri holding no office in Massachusetts, “instructed” a Massachusetts legislator to become a hit man and knock off my wife. There is no such crime as ‘solicitation? of a crime’.”

    Oh yeah?

    Chapter 161 – General Provisions
    Section 161.435 – “Solicitation” Defined

    (1) A person commits the crime of solicitation if? with the intent of causing another to engage in specific conduct constituting a crime punishable as a felony or a Class A misdemeanor or an attempt to commit such felony or Class A misdemeanor the person commands or solicits such other person to engage in that conduct.
    Solicitation is a:
    (a) Class A felony if the offense solicited is murder or treason.

  14. mdh mdh August 22, 2009

    Fairly neat. Thanks to the Wilders for putting in the time and energy to do this research.

  15. Richard Cooper Richard Cooper August 21, 2009

    Ben Zwirn used to be a Democrat office-holder in Nassau County.

Comments are closed.