- Rich Klein
Vegliante Not Running Again As County's Democratic Chair; Backs Anne Hart To Replace Him
Updated: Jan 7, 2022
Steve Vegliante today (Wednesday) told members of the Sullivan County Democratic Committee that he is not running for another term as its chair, after he served a little more than three years in the position.
State law dictates that county committees reorganize every two years.
Vegliante, an attorney, became chair in July 2018 when Donna Schick resigned the position for personal reasons.
In his email to committee members, Vegliante said he was endorsing the nomination of Anne Hart, who is currently the secretary of the committee.
"It will be both my honor and privilege to nominate and support Anne Hart to lead our Committee as our Chair going forward," Vegliante wrote to his colleagues. "The hard work, determination and initiative she has brought to this Committee cannot be overstated and I believe she can bring our Committee where we need to go. I believe she can get our Candidates elected. I will leave it up to Anne to promote her candidacy, but want each of you to know that I do and will support Anne going forward as our Chair, and I ask you to join me in supporting her. We stand on a precipice of a great new era of democratic politics in Sullivan County, and I look forward to walking forward beside each of you. "
Hart is the owner of The Cutting Garden in Youngsville and has a deep background in financial services. Her husband is Fritz Mayer, a former editor and lead reporter for The River Reporter.
In an email to The SullivanTimes on Thursday, Hart noted that Vegliante "remains chair until a new chair is elected at the reorganizational meeting which will take place this month. All of the officer positions are open seats and any member of the County Democratic Committee is welcome to run for any of those offices. "
Vegliante, who is up for re-election as Fallsburg supervisor in November, was at the helm when Sullivan Dems suffered some of their worst defeats in recent County history.
In 2019, Democrats lost multiple seats in the County Legislature while also losing a County Court judge position and the County Clerk race.
Vegliante also came under some criticism in 2019 from some fellow Dems who believed that he did not fight hard enough on behalf for the candidacy of Mamakating Judge Cynthia Dolan, the Democratic challenger to Republican (and former District Attorney) Jim Farrell for County Court judge.
Farrell also got a boost in that race from Bill Liblick, the chair of the Liberty Democratic Committee, who believes that Farrell worked hard to prosecute sex crimes. (Tragically, Liblick's sister, Paula, who was developmentally disabled, was the victim of repeated rape and sexual assault in an Orange County group home operated by New York State in 2009).
In November 2020, Democrats in Sullivan and beyond could not get out enough votes to re-elect freshman State Senator Jen Metzger (from Ulster County), who lost to Orange County's Mike Martucci in a very close battle that was not decided until weeks later.
Vegliante had also cross-endorsed Republican E. Danielle Jose Decker, enabling the veteran attorney to run unopposed for the County Court judge seat created by the mandatory retirement of Frank LaBuda, who turned 70 in December 2020. However, at least three local attorneys, all with solid experience, were considering a challenge to Decker during 2020 before they abruptly ended their candidacies.
More recently, Vegliante has been outspoken and called for Legislature Chair Robert Doherty to resign for his personal attacks on fellow legislators. He also issued statements to oppose the proposed sale of the Care Center at Sunset Lake and issued a statement the day after supporters of President Trump rioted at the U.S. Capitol. Vegliante also issued a statement on behalf of the Committee to announce its support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Democrat District Attorney Meagan Galligan never got behind that statement and posted the support of a a local gun rights leader, who posted a meme of a person peeing on the words "Black Lives Matter." When Vegliante was asked about it by The SullivanTimes at the time, he said Galligan can speak for herself.
Vegliante also was seen at campaign stops to promote Galligan over former judge LaBuda for the DA position she eventually won. LaBuda had tried unsuccessfully to garner Democratic support for his candidacy as a Democrat before switching parties to Republican. He then beat Galligan handily in that GOP primary held in June 2020 before losing to Galligan in the general election.
But some Dems found it off-putting that Vegliante campaigned side by side with Sheriff Mike Schiff and Undersheriff Eric Chaboty, who as the unofficial leaders of Sullivan County's Republican Committee, had cross endorsed Galligan, but who also helped defeat Democrats in local and county races and especially helped Martucci knock off Metzger.