The latest round in the Rensselaer County Bipolarchy tug-of-war for control of the Working Families Party involves a person named Kevin Gervasio who won a nomination to run as a WFP candidate for the county legislature with 76 votes in the party primary. Gervasio is alleged to be a "ghost" candidate recruited by local Republicans to occupy the WFP line and keep it out of Democratic hands. Blog readers will recall that local Democrats have been accused of fraudulent use of absentee ballots in another WFP primary. In Gervasio's case no laws seem to have been broken, but Democrats are trying to use the episode to embarrass Republicans because Gervasio, who now claims to have been put forward without his knowledge by his own brother, is a convicted criminal with multiple arrests on his record who also happens to live in North Carolina.
This is more proof of the pathetic shape the WFP is in Rensselaer County, where the party has a line on the ballot because of its performance in statewide elections but lacks the personnel to enforce any kind of partisan integrity. Across the river in Albany, the WFP has its own credible mayoral candidate, albeit a disgruntled Democrat. In Rensselaer County it's nothing but a piece of property the Bipolarchy fights over. This would seem to be an argument for centralizing control of any such party under a statewide leadership, on the assumption that somebody must have an interest in the integrity of the brand and a right to protect it against destructive exploitation. All that may be needed would be some requirement that any local candidate get a WFP stamp of approval from the statewide party apparatus -- if the WFP has such a thing. This may look objectionable to advocates of maximum localization or decentralization, but if we want parties to really stand for something besides fundraising in a post-Bipolarchy polity, someone has to have the power to say that someone like Gervasio doesn't actually represent the party and should not appear on its ballot line -- a statement with which Gervasio himself would apparently agree.