2010 in review Guilderland

Two Guilderland pols, Redlich and Danz, ran in state and national elections

GUILDERLAND — Two local politicians entered big races this year, neither with much chance of winning.

They used the platform to discuss issues they cared about.

Businessman Ted Danz ran for Congress, and Republican town board member and Guilderland lawyer Warren Redlich attempted to get the Libertarian Party on the ballot for the next four years by running for governor in 2010.

He fell just short of receiving the necessary 50,000 votes to get on the ballot, but said this month that votes are still being counted. The gubernatorial election was held on Nov. 2.

The week of the election, Redlich declared he would never run for office again, after a flyer was circulated during the first week of November that mimicked a police warning, labeling Redlich as a sexual predator.

The mailer called him a “sick, twisted pervert” and referenced a blog post he made in 2008 after pictures of Miley Cyrus caused controversy.

The flyer that was distributed across the state says that Redlich was “running as a libertine candidate for governor, openly mocking law enforcement.” It encouraged people to call the police if they saw him anywhere near a public school, in the neighborhood, or near a family.

Redlich has never been convicted or arrested for a sex crime. His campaign was to reduce the layers of government and stop wasting money.

On the same day that the flyer about Redlich appeared in mailboxes, a flier about Independent candidate Kristin Davis was also distributed; both flyers had the same postal permit number. The flier about Davis called her the “real” Libertarian candidate.

Davis, who describes herself as an ex-madam who supplied call girls for Governor Eliot Spitzer, originally sought the Libertarian line, but it went to Redlich instead. Davis focused her campaign on the legalization of marijuana, prostitution, and gay marriage, and received just under 23,000 votes.

“It was very hurtful, it’s very clear the purpose was personal; they were trying to hurt me, my wife, and my children, and they succeeded,” said Redlich shortly after the election.

Redlich, an enrolled Republican, said he has been active with the Libertarian party on and off for the past decade. The party was founded in 1971, and advocates a “free market” approach to health care and retirement security, and says foreign policy should “seek an American peace with the world.” The party has 250,000 members nationwide, and in the 10 presidential races since it was founded, the highest popular vote for the Libertarian candidate was just over 1 percent.

“Saying that I have a long shot at winning would be a nice way of putting it,” said Redlich last January. He just wanted to get the 50,000 votes to get the party on the ballot for the next four years. He said he believed third-party candidates play an important role, even if they don't win the election.

“They can change the focus of a debate, and change the nature of a discussion. They can inject new issues, and if they get media attention, they can make mainstream candidates answer questions,” said Redlich.

He has a checkered political history; he unsuccessfully sought a Guilderland Town Board seat both as a Democrat and on the Liberal Party line before succeeding in 2007 as a Republican. He was also a write-in candidate for Guilderland supervisor on the Green Party line.

Redlich also made two quixotic runs for Congress — in 2004 and 2006 — as a Republican against an entrenched Democrat incumbent.

The central focus of Redlich’s gubernatorial campaign was to cut government spending; he came up with ideas to not just control spending, but cut it out entirely. He identified 13 state agencies that, if elected, he would eliminate.

During his campaign, he spoke at a pro-marijuana rally at the State Capitol, in favor of ending the prohibition on marijuana.

“Here is the simple thing — it costs a lot of money to investigate, arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate people for marijuana-related crimes, and it doesn't work,” Redlich said. There would be more money in the state budget if it weren't being wasted on those crimes, he said. He created a website, www.repeal.net, that stated, “No one should go to prison for what they put in their body. The drug war has failed, and created great harm to our society.”

“I'm disappointed. I had hoped to get more votes. I thought we were going to do better than we did,” Redlich said on election night, as he announced he would never run for public office again. He said he believed the flyer that circulated was connected to the Kristin Davis campaign, and her campaign consultant, Roger Stone.

Redlich said he thought Davis’s true purpose was to draw votes away from the Democrat front-runner, and ultimate victor, Andrew Cuomo.

Though he won’t run for office again, Redlich said he hopes to be a leader, behind the scenes, in the Libertarian party going forward.

“I really believe that the Republican and Democratic insiders have let us down,” Redlich said. “The third parties need more attention.”

Danz, who chaired the town’s Republican Party, entered a larger arena this fall as he made a run for Congress on the GOP line. He challenged Democratic incumbent Paul Tonko to represent the 21st District.

Danz, 62, the proprietor of Family Danz Heating and Air Conditioning, said that running for office had been something he’d been interested in his entire life.

“When this opportunity came along, I couldn't walk away from it,” Danz said in the spring. Whereas Tonko has a long history in politics, Danz was a political newcomer in 2007, when he ran for a seat in the Albany County Legislature, and was defeated by Democratic incumbent William Aylward.

As a businessman and family man, Danz felt he had more to offer than a career politician.

“With my five kids, 11 grandkids, and 50 employees, I have more of a grounded idea of what life is like in America,” Danz said. He relinquished his role as chairman of Guilderland's Republican Party to focus on his campaign.

“The 21st District territory includes seven counties, so I'm traveling a lot; I'm out on a regular basis, organizing petitions for the candidacy nod, and going to meetings,” Danz said in July.

His campaign platforms included ending the war in Iraq, cutting state employees’ salaries, repealing the health care bill, and developing alternative energy.

In the November election, Danz received 85,752 votes to Tonko’s 124,889.

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