The question in Queensbury is whether the town Republican Committee will ever forgive Tony Metivier for being right.
It's easy to forgive someone when circumstances and public opinion have shown you were on the side of the good and decent. But it takes a big person to overcome the bitter taste of being shown to be wrong.
In Queensbury, in a dispute five years ago over the hiring of a new law firm to represent the town, Metivier took a principled stand against a firm with close ties to the county Republican Committee, saying the town's legal representation should not be partisan.
Metivier was pressured by the committee to vote for the switch, but he wouldn't. Soon after that, Queensbury Republicans suffered a series of self-inflicted wounds that led to two new Democrats being elected to the Town Board, giving Democrats the majority. That fiasco, which wasn't Metivier's fault, must have made it harder for the committee to forgive his "betrayal."
Only in politics, and perhaps organized crime, can taking a stand based on integrity be seen as a betrayal.
Since then, the Republican Committee has refused to endorse Metivier, a longtime Republican, for re-election. Instead, the party has endorsed other candidates whom Metivier has beaten in primaries. Now, the Republicans have — oops — done it again, endorsing another Republican to run against Metivier.
George Ferone, a Republican Town Board member and chairman of the town Republican Committee, said the committee would have loved to talk to Metivier but never heard from him, darn it.
"He did not approach us, so there was no discussion. If he did, I definitely would have talked to him about it," Ferone said.
Politics can really take you back to high school. Ferone would have just loved to talk to Metivier but never thought to say anything to him or pick up the phone. Maybe he doesn't have Metivier's number. Or his email. Or know where he lives. Or see him all the time in board meetings online. Somehow, it just never worked out.
Metivier, who was not informed the Republican committee was gathering to come up with endorsements, would have liked to speak with the members. He's ready to move on from his sin of doing the right thing five years ago.
"We’ve gotta let this issue go at some point. It’s frustrating," he said.
It's not like the party has candidates spilling out of its pockets. Of the five races in Queensbury, only two Republicans could be found to contest seats. One of the challengers is David Deeb, taking on Democrat Harrison Freer in Ward 2. The other is John Kassebaum, challenging Metivier in Ward 1.
"They grab this guy ... " Metivier said. "I’ve been doing this for 14 years, I don’t think he’s ever stepped foot into a Town Board meeting, so what’s going on here?"
The town Republican committee has a lot of new members, so he would think they could keep an open mind, Metivier said.
Metivier is not the one losing here. He keeps winning primaries while looking good for standing by his principles.
Metivier is a productive and popular member of the Town Board, but the Republican Party gets none of the credit for that. It does get to keep reminding everyone of how petty it can be and how badly it screwed things up a few years ago, though.
Before long, the cause of the anger felt by Republican Committee members five years ago will be forgotten, and like a backwoods feud, no one will know how the vendetta against Tony Metivier started but everyone in the party will feel compelled to keep it going.
Local editorials are written by the Post-Star editorial board, which includes Ben Rogers, president and director of local sales and marketing; Brian Corcoran, regional finance director and former publisher; Will Doolittle, projects editor; and Bob Condon, local news editor.