As everyone in Orange County knows, Legislator Mike Anagnostakis, a Republican, is the reason the Valley View nursing home was not sold and is now providing the same high quality care it always did while not placing a burden on taxpayers.
As everyone also knows, Anagnostakis is the reason Orange County has a strong law limiting the amount of money those seeking to do business with the county can donate to campaigns.
In both cases and in others he has had to fight the very organized, very unforgiving Republican power structure in the county, a group that does not forgive and never forgets.
So when Bill Larkin announced that he was going to retire from his Senate seat, there was no chance that the GOP leaders would endorse the man who had made them look so foolish for so long. It was inevitable that they would find someone else to rally around.
Now they have, a candidate from that malignant corner of the Republican Party that inflicted Breitbart and Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway and Donald Trump on the nation, the part funded by the Mercer family.
Tom Basile, a town councilman in Stony Point, was the senior advisor for policy at Reclaim New York where Rebekah Mercer is the chairman and treasurer for the board of directors and her sister, Jennifer, is secretary. Mercer money already is funding Basile’s race and because the disclosure of donations often comes late in a campaign and because PAC money is in theory not tied to a single candidate, we will not know how much until it is too late to react.
But we do know that the Mercers have more money than anybody else who wants to influence local races in New York. After all, they put $1 million into the failed effort to help Rob Astorino win another term as county executive in Westchester.
We also know that the Mercer-Bannon-Trump philosophy is guiding this effort because of the nasty, unhinged reaction.
Basile, through a spokesman, charged that Anagnostakis was once a Democrat.
Are Republicans proposing a wall to keep out Democrats who want to cross the party border? Would Basile have stopped Donald Trump or Ronald Reagan when they tried to cross?
Anagnostakis also poses a threat, they claim, because he would work with Democrats in Albany.
Are those the same Democrats who lavished praise on Larkin for his ability to talk with and work with everybody regardless of party affiliation?
Anagnostakis makes an important point by saying that the voters in the Republican primary should choose the nominee after they have a chance to examine the records of the candidates. Then all voters should have the chance to choose from the nominees after a similar examination.
If Basile and his supporters think they can bully Anagnostakis out of the race, they obviously know as little about him as they do about Orange County and the issues that matter to the people here.
There are plenty of people in the Senate district who like President Trump and who are likely to support someone like him. So let the race begin.
Mike or mini-Trump?