A first elected Republican official in New York State has broken ranks with party leadership and endorsed Libertarian candidate for governor Larry Sharpe. In an open letter to New York State voters, Allegany County Legislator W. Brooke Harris says that Sharpe “far outshines the competition” and “best represents the interests of upstate Republicans.”
I can state without hesitation that Molinaro will not win
Coinciding with the conclusion of a petition effort to draft Larry Sharpe onto the Republican primary ballot, which faltered following interventions from Republican establishment candidate Marc Molinaro, Harris’ endorsement of the Sharpe campaign is a stunning development.
The endorsement is further evidence that many rank-and-file members of the New York GOP are unhappy with Molinaro’s campaign, and his perceived softness on issues rural Republicans prize especially, like Second Amendment rights.
Brooke Harris serves on the Allegany County Board of Legislators as one of three representatives from District 5, which covers much of the eastern section of the county. One of the state’s smallest counties by population, Allegany County is part of New York’s “Southern Tier” and is not a frequent campaign stop for most state-wide officials. This seems to have played a part in Brooke Harris’ decision to back the Libertarian candidate.
“I have been very pleased with Mr. Sharpe’s willingness to campaign in the far reaches of New York State,” Harris told News Growl. “I recently attended Sharpe’s town hall meeting in tiny Belfast, New York, and was very impressed with his message.”
We asked Legislator Harris if he had felt any pressure to support Molinaro over Sharpe, or was expecting any negative reactions from party leadership.
“I have not received any criticism from fellow members of the GOP, nor do I expect to,” he said. “We have a strong county party that I’m confident encourages its members to vote their conscience.
“In this election, I believe that Mr. Sharpe’s positions align more closely with my more traditional Republican ideals: more freedom and less government.
“It is my understanding that Mr. Molinaro is a strong and ethical county commissioner,” he continued. “I certainly can’t speak to his motivations for running for governor, but I can state without hesitation that he will not win. That fact makes it easier for a Republican to vote for a third party that better represents their interests.”
The Sharpe campaign is obviously delighted to receive the endorsement. Speaking to News Growl Larry Sharpe said:
“I am so happy to see legislators like Mr. Harris show the moral courage to break away from establishment politics. Putting principle over party establishment is rare because it can be politically costly. Kudos to Mr. Harris for his bravery and acumen. I am grateful for his endorsement and I promise to make him proud and reward his foresight when I am governor.”
W. Brooke Harris’ open letter in full
Harris’ endorsement of Larry Sharpe comes in the form of an open letter to New York voters. It is much longer and more detailed that the average candidate endorsement, but very clearly expressed. To ensure New York voters would have the chance to read all of Harris’ reasons for his decision, News Growl has decided to publish it in full:
It is my sincere pleasure to endorse Larry Sharpe in his campaign for Governor of New York State. Like most New Yorkers, I have grown weary of the dysfunction in Albany. Here in rural upstate, I share the frustration of citizens who feel as though their interests have been long overlooked. Mr. Sharpe recognizes what most of us already know: What is good for downstate is not necessarily what is best for the upstate, and vice versa. His concept of returning important fiscal and policy decisions to the counties is both refreshing and innovative, and would provide upstate New Yorkers with the ability to manage their own affairs.
Mr. Sharpe far outshines the competition in his commitment to lower taxes and reduced regulations. His desire to eliminate the state income tax and to slash business taxes and regulations should be shared by all Republicans. As a successful business owner, he understands the crippling challenges that New York State business owners face. He also recognizes that New York’s continued population decline and loss of business and industry are a direct result of our high taxes, over-regulation, and failed policies.
Regarding the SAFE Act, we all know that its repeal in the state legislature is very unlikely. Despite that, Larry Sharpe has vowed to veto any legislative measures that would fund its implementation, and to instruct law enforcement officials to give it the lowest priority. While I share his desire to eliminate the SAFE Act entirely, these strategies would render it appropriately impotent.
I was pleased to see Mr. Sharpe and his running mate Andrew Hollister at the Belfast VFW last week. Frankly, it was surprising to see a gubernatorial candidate in our neck of the woods. I’ve since learned that he’s held campaign events in Hornell, Arkport, Corning, and Hammondsport. It’s safe to say that no other candidate in this election will spend as much time meeting with and listening to rural voters in our area.
I am very honored to represent Allegany County’s 5th Legislative District as a Republican. I am also proud to endorse Libertarian candidate Larry Sharpe in his campaign for Governor. He best represents the interests of upstate Republicans: fiscal conservatism, personal freedom, and limited government. I encourage all voters to consider his campaign for governor as an alternative to the failed status quo in Albany.
W. Brooke Harris, District V
Allegany County Legislature