The decision by local Independence Party activists to not circulate petitions for a constituted county committee brings to an end 12 years of having such a body to make local endorsements and rally for candidates.
In early years, IP only candidates peppered the ballot but as happens with third parties in NY, the recent trend is towards cross endorsing major party candidates.
Quite frankly, most local races are unopposed, so getting a third candidate is not that easy.
Under party chairs Tammy Bramhall and John Rice, the party was instrumental in the 2002 election of Darrel Aubertine as Member of Assembly and was front and center in 2008 for a nasty battle with State Chair Frank MacKay over the endorsement of a candidate in the open seat race in SD 48.
Unlike other counties the Jefferson contingent did not fund raise off the major parties and until the last two cycles kept petitioning within the party.
In fact, in most counties, major party operatives circulate all the petitions including county and state committee.
Since the party was formed by Tom Golisano in 1994, there have been some fascinating battles for control of the party, wresting it from a GOP cross endorser in the late Chair Jack Essenberg to a move towards local control and then back again to the current arrangement.
Many in the party have become prodigious fundraisers and the theory is these minor parties act as a voice to leverage major party candidates.
I was the party's US Senate Candidate in 2000 and the people met over the years around the state have been fascinating. I learned a lot about politics, not as practiced in NNY but downstate politics. A favorite moment was having dinner with Tammy and John Moore at the Crowne Plaza in White Plains in 1998 and some guy named Schumer just sits down to tell us why he should be the next Senator. Another time was joining activists from around the state in an Albany courtroom to stand down a GOP judge and win control of the party.
The decision not to organize this year was a result of declining interest and a bit of fatigue. Also, the other demands of life tug at many like current Chairman Rice.
John says he intends to stay involved and maybe some other people will step forward. Fact is, most people just think candidates appear and multi million dollar campaigns just happen. It is very difficult to find true political hobbyists these days.
Meanwhile with malice towards none, the Jefferson County Indy Committee fades to black on September 14.