It is very rare that a front-page news story walks in the front door and sits down in your office, but that is exactly what happened to me on Tuesday.
While preparing for our two afternoon editorial board meetings with two Queensbury Town Board candidates, I was informed that Hal Bain – a Town Board candidate who was scheduled to meet with the board on Wednesday – was at the reception desk and wanted to speak with me.
I asked Bain if we had gotten our signals crossed about the scheduled board meeting.
“No, that’s what I want to talk to you about,” Bain said. “I want to cancel that.”
He immediately told me that he was not a candidate for the Town Board and that Republican officials had known that since July.
I asked him if he would be willing to sit down with our Queensbury reporter Kathleen Moore later in the day for a story.
He declined. “That’s why I’m here now,” he said.
So I pulled out my notebook and started writing. Bain seemed to indicate that it was Republican Party leadership in the county that forced him into this position of being a middle-man in a scheme where a Republican would be appointed as a successor if he was elected.
I asked why he did not let the public know he was not running. That seemed like the right thing to do.
He insisted he had been telling people that for some time, despite the fact he refused to return phone calls from a Post-Star reporter or set the record straight officially.
He also said he was upset his name was being “dragged through the mud.” We talked about that some as well and I explained that only happened because he was not willing to set the record straight.
By remaining silent, he was party to an unethical act.
He said he understood.
I came away feeling bad for Hal Bain, a local guy who wanted to do something good for his community, but got caught up in the dirty tricks of the local Republican Party.