Sullivan County Democrat
O n l i n e  E d i t i o n National Award-winning, Family-run Newspaper
  NEWS ARCHIVES Established 1891 Callicoon, New York  
home  |  archives
Same Name,
Different Party

By Jeanne Sager
HURLEYVILLE — August 31, 2004 – The race isn’t over for Sandra Oxford.
The Hurleyville woman’s appeal to a judgment striking her from the Democratic and Independent party lines in the upcoming 42nd Senatorial District election was shot down in state court last week.
Oxford will not be able to challenge incumbent Republican and Conservative John Bonacic as either a Democrat or an Independent.
But she will be in the race – as a representative of the Working Families Party.
And she’s putting her troubles behind her.
“You make lemonade, right?” Oxford said. “Some of us have a long tradition of making the sweetest lemonade that’s often the most palatable.”
Oxford said she’s been planning this campaign since January, and she’s not going to let this, or any other hurdle she’ll have to face, get in the way as she challenges Bonacic for his seat in the State Senate.
“[Challenge] is nothing new for me as a candidate,” she said. “It’s a priceless gift for me to be a candidate.”
She’s bound to work for the issues she’s supported from day one – issues that she said are truly the concerns of working families, from the high rate of HIV-infected county residents to the high rate of infant mortality in the State of New York.
“It’s most appropriate that I’m on [the Working Families] line,” Oxford said. “Since the beginning, this has been about the issues of working families.”
Sullivan County Democratic Chair Tim Hill (also the county’s Democratic Board of Elections commissioner) said Oxford may not be the Democratic candidate in name, but she is in spirit.
“Sandy’s our candidate. Her submission of 4,000 signatures certainly shows there’s support behind her – you’ll just have to look harder to find her on the ballot,” Hill said. “We’re going to support her and endorse her.”
According to court documents, Oxford’s candidacy on the Independent line was declared null and void because she failed to obtain the appropriate number of signatures on her designating petition.
In the case of the Democratic Party, State Supreme Court Justice Thomas Spargo ruled that Hill and Orange County Democratic Chair Jonathan Jacobson falsely certified that they chose Oxford as their candidate in a July 13 meeting at which a quorum was present.
Spargo ruled that with only two out of four necessary party chairs present (the heads of the parties in Delaware and Ulster counties were missing), the quorum requirement was not met.
Hill challenged Bonacic, whose office released details of the suits by Democratic and Independent party members against Oxford last week.
With tongue in cheek, Hill said, “We’re fortunate to have such a stalwart citizen as Mr. Bonacic to forestall the opportunities of democracy.”
Bonacic moved to have a “free run,” Hill said, but Oxford is still fighting.
Bonacic’s campaign spokesman, Langdon Chapman, denied his boss had any part in the proceedings against Oxford.
“A bipartisan panel of judges ruled what Mr. Hill did was illegal,” Chapman said. “It was his wrongful act that deprived his party of a candidate.
“As an elections commissioner, Mr. Hill should learn to follow the law – for him to be acting like a victim, when he was the perpetrator of the illegal act, is shameful.”
Chapman placed an equal amount of blame on Oxford herself.
“She claimed she had the required number of signatures to get on the ballot; then her own lawyer admitted in court that wasn’t true,” Chapman contended – a claim backed up by Spargo’s court decision.
“Sullivan County residents deserve an elections commissioner who can follow the elections law,” Chapman said. “Maybe instead of talking about the senator, who has done more for Sullivan County than any candidate Mr. Hill supports, Mr. Hill should spend some time reading the election law.”

top of page  |  home  |  archives