Sussman (file) – not running
but still campaigning
GOSHEN – Attorney Michael Sussman, who has been considering a run for Orange County executive on the Democratic line, announced on Saturday that he has decided against it.
“I remain hopeful that the party will nominate a candidate that all of you can and will avidly support, someone committed to running a strong race against a vacuous opponent,” Sussman wrote to county Democratic Party leaders.
Sussman unsuccessfully ran once for county executive against former executive Edward Diana.
Incumbent Steven Neuhaus, a Republican, is seeking his second four-year term in office.
“I think Mr. Sussman realized that his views and his interests are not in sync with the average voter and the average Orange County Democrat,” Neuhaus said. “I wish him luck. I hope he doesn’t continue to cost taxpayers thousands of dollars with frivolous lawsuits.”
Sussman said he is “confident” he could have defeated the incumbent had he challenged him.
Sussman also fired back at Neuhaus saying among the “frivolous lawsuits” the county executive claimed were one that saved the county’s Valley View nursing home; resisted demolition of the government center, blocking “the county’s illegally constructed landfill,” to “derail” Neuhaus’ “politically motivated plan to block non-Hasidic election inspectors from Kiryas Joel… and to block a racially-biased redistricting of our county legislature.”
Sussman said he has “accomplished more as a private citizen than Mr. Neuhaus has in his career as county executive.”
Sussman said Neuhaus’ support for Donald Trump “tells you all you need to know about his judgment.”
Neuhaus, meanwhile, said he will continue to focus on economic development, spending down and welcoming his fourth child to his family shortly.
County Democratic Chairman Brett Broge said the party had hoped Sussman would take on the race “because of his long standing activism on behalf of all the people of Orange County.” During the time Sussman was considering a run, Broge said “he did much to energy the party on a local level.”
Broge said in recent weeks, other potential candidates have inquired about running. “What will help galvanize our party into having a candidate is Mr. Neuhaus’ petty ‘Trump-like’ juvenile response to Mr. Sussman’s announcement that he would not be running,” the county chairman said. He called Neuhaus’ response to Sussman’s announcement “snarky and insulting.”
The county Democratic convention will be held on May 31 and Broge said they hope to have a “better option” than the current executive by that date.