Even I was surprised when I heard Len Bernardo and the Independence party were going to endorse Mike Hein for Ulster County Executive. Obviously we all know, Len and Mike ran a bitter race against one another in 2008 and have not been on the best of terms since.
The endorsement is very significant. Robin Yess and the Republican party can poo poo the endorsement as insignificant because there is no one running against Hein but that argument does not hold water. There is no one running against Hein because he is doing a good job and the GOP knows he is not going to be beaten.
Furthermore, Len Bernardo is kinda drawing a line in the sand with the GOP, last I knew Jim Quigley was still considering a run, as was another GOPer and in a county that has a 2:1 Democratic edge the Independence line is important to win. The Independence party made a decision to say very clearly, we think Hein is the guy for the job, Mr. Quigley save your money.
I expect Mike Hein WILL have an opponent at the end of the day, a paper candidate that will do a solid for the GOP and will get trounced.
The endorsement also speaks to Hein's ability to lead. Hein getting the endorsement of a party led by his former opponent shows the type of guy Hein is. For Mike it's about doing the right thing and making Ulster County a great place to live and work. Hein gets it and the people of Ulster County get that he gets it and that is why Hein is so popular.