Middletown GOP dinner draws crowd

By Joe Moskowitz
Middletown Republican Committee Chairman Charles Freas said that he felt bad that he had to turn away so many “good Republicans”, but there simply wasn’t enough room for all of the party faithful who wanted to attend the second-annual GOP dinner at the Margaretville Fire Hall Thursday night.
Freas said that next year he might have to move the dinner to a larger venue.
Freas told the News Monday that came up with the idea to hold an annual dinner in an attempt to revitalize what had once been the dominant political party in the area. Republicans do out number Democrats by a seven-to-six margin in the Town of Middletown but there are a nearly equal number of independents, and three of the five members of the Middletown Town Board, including Supervisor Marjorie Miller, are Democrats.
Freas, in his remarks at the dinner, pointed out that in the last election, 53 percent of the town’s registered Republicans voted, while an impressive 69 percent of the registered Dem-ocrats voted. Supervisor Miller, the incumbent, defeated Republican challenger Nelson Delameter by scant 11-vote margin. Freas credits Miller with doing a great job of getting out the vote, but said the GOP has to do better.
Freas also said the Republicans have to be more open in order to attract new people to the party. He said they must adhere to being fiscally conservative, but the divisiveness that is hurting the country must end.
Then it was time for politics as usual, the introduction of party members staring with committee members on up to Delaware County Judge Carl Becker and Congressman Chris Gibson.
Two long-time committee members were honored as Republicans of the Year, Eleanor Magur, and Nina Johnson. Johnson, who is 88, could not attend because of health issues.
Rep. Chris Gibson, left, Eleanor Mage and State Senator James Seward pose for a photo at last week’s Middletown Republican Dinner.  — Photo by Joe MoskowitzRep. Chris Gibson, left, Eleanor Mage and State Senator James Seward pose for a photo at last week’s Middletown Republican Dinner. — Photo by Joe Moskowitz
Gearing for elections
It’s that year again. It’s always that year, it’s an election year.
Delaware County Sheriff Tom Mills wants to go back to jail, and Delaware County Clerk Sharon O’Dell wants to continue keeping track of the county’s paperwork. As of today, neither Republican candidate is being opposed. They all joined county treasurer Beverly Shields, State Senator Jim Seward and Congressman Chris Gibson at the annual GOP committee dinner in Margaretville last Thursday.
Shields doesn’t have to run for two more years, nor does Seward. Congressman Gibson, whose term is just two-years long, is almost always running.
Seward, is a veteran of 28 years as a state senator, is still new to this district. When the lines were redrawn two years ago, this portion of Delaware County became part of his district. The Milford Republican conceded that New York is, “a pretty Blue state” with all of the statewide elected officials being Democrats, the Assembly overwhelmingly Democrats, and the GOP only has some degree of power in the Senate because of a coalition formed with five Democrats.
But he credits Republicans with helping the state produce a budget on time for the fourth consecutive year, with the reduction of some business taxes, a property-tax increase freeze, and a roll back of some GAP elimination school aid cuts. He pointed out how Margaretville Central Schools a so called, “wealthy district,” has been hammered by state-aid reductions, even though about half of the students qualify for free or reduced price lunches. Seward also said the senate won’t give up in its attempt to repeal, the SAFE Act, the law which limits the use of some firearms.
Then it was Chris Gibson’s turn to speak. He was in Margaretville for the second time in three weeks. Gibson is in the midst of what could turn out to be one of the more expensive and closely watched races this year. He is being challenged by Democrat Sean Eldridge.
Gibson accused Eldridge, who is married to Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes,  of trying to buy the race and claimed Eldridge, who was born in Canada and didn’t move into the 19th Congressional District until 2011, of only having done so in order to run against him.
Gibson praised the local flood recovery efforts and put the federal stamp of approval on the video produced by Margaretville Central School students that helped the village win another $3 million in flood mitigation money.