The county executive’s decision not to run was unexpected according to Rockland County Democratic Committee Chair Kristen Stavisky.
She said all signs sort of pointed to C. Scott Vanderhoef seeking a sixth term. Vanderhoef announced he was not seeking a sixth term at a fundraiser in Haverstraw on Wednesday evening.
“It was a bit of a surprise,” Stavisky said on Thursday afternoon.
Rockland Republican Committee Chair Vincent Reda said it was generous of Vanderhoef to give the parties so much notice that he was not seeking re-election.
“I think he has an outstanding record to be elected five times in a Democratic county,” said Reda. “It’s going to be a great loss for us.”
Neither Reda nor Stavisky disclosed names of any potential candidates but did acknowledge there are party members already showing interest in running for the county executive position.
Stavisky said the party’s emphasis is on the upcoming November elections and she does not anticipate the Democrats having a candidate before January.
“It’s premature for me to put forward names,” she said. “(There are) five names that are floating around right now that are credible possibilities.”
Reda said they have almost a year and a half before the election for county executive.
“We’re far from bankrupt for candidates,” he said. “I think we have an excellent chance.”
Four of those whose names have already surfaced as possible candidates are Clarkstown Councilman Frank Borelli, Spring Valley Judge David Fried, County Legislator Ed Day and former Orangetown Supervisor Thom Kleiner. However, Kleiner, who challenged Vanderhoef in 2009, said he would not run for county executive.
Borelli (R-New City) and Day (R-New City/Pomona) did not dismiss the possibility of running for county executive.
“I’m definitely considering it,” Borelli said on Thursday. “I’ve given it some thought. I’ll have something to say about it next week.”
Day said he has engaged in some exploratory efforts already.
“I am certainly weighing it,” said Day. “I do not take a long time to make a decision.”
Day said he would make up his mind probably by the first of the year.
Fried is a Democrat from Spring Valley, who also served in the county legislature. He said he has initiated some conversations. Fried explained he would have to resign as a judge before formally announcing his candidacy.
“Leaders in each of the five towns have asked me to consider running,” Fried said.