In a surprise development, Town of Ulster Supervisor Jim Quigley has been nominated as the Republican candidate for county comptroller, going up against two-term incumbent Democrat Elliott Auerbach. Unofficial nominations took place at the Republican convention at Ulster County Community College on Wednesday night.
Quigley lost by 174 votes to Auerbach in 2008 and did not challenge him in 2011 when Auerbach ran for and won re-election. The former Ellenville mayor and village manager beat Fawn Tantillo of New Paltz by some 6,000 votes.
“I’m looking for about 174 new friends,” Quigley said to cheers from about 150 Republican committee members and guests at UCCC, a reference to Auerbach’s winning margin five years ago.
Quigley, a two-term town supervsor and a certified public accountant, said he “would turn the office on its head” if elected to a four-year term.
“We have to stop looking in the rear-view mirror, citing departments for problems with petty cash and the like, and become proactive. We need to quit looking in the rear-view mirror,” he said.
Quigley, who had repeatedly denied he had any intention of running for countywide office, may have been convinced to change his mind last Friday. Town of Lloyd Supervisor Paul Hansut, who nominated Quigley, said he paid his fellow supervisor a courtesy call while in Kingston on town business on Friday and asked him to run. “Why would you ask a friend to do that?” he said Quigley replied.
Auerbach said he “wasn’t surprised the Republicans nominated someone, but tomorrow morning I still have to get up and do the people’s work.”
Speaking of his once and future foe, Auerbach said, “I guess it’s better to run against the devil you know than one you don’t.”
Auerbach was expected to be nominated at the unofficial Democratic nominating convention in Kingston on Thursday night.
Quigley’s son John was nominated to run for county legislature in Kingston District 6 against eight-term incumbent Democrat Dave Donaldson.
Legislature Chairwoman Terry Bernardo, who was denied her Rochester town party’s nomination last week, losing to John Dawson, did not attend the convention.
Republicans also nominated family court judge Marianne Mizel and clerk Nina Postupack for third terms.