Town of Ballston Supervisor Patti Southworth turned in a change-of-enrollment form to the State Board of Elections on Wednesday, Sept. 10, quitting the Democratic Party. She had been the first Democrat to hold the office in three decades.
Southworth said the decision had no relation to her husband's failed bid for the 110th district State Democratic Committee seat the day before, which he lost to incumbent Shawn Thomas 1,161-to-989.
I have been thinking about it for months, said Southworth of the switch.
The supervisor will be changing her affiliation to the Independence Party, which she says has supported her in all her election bids and reflects her fiscally conservative views.
Southworth cited a failure of Democratic leadership in Saratoga County and divisive party politics as influencing her decision.
"I just question the direction that the party is going," she said. "I don't think the party leadership in Saratoga represents the average Democrat."
Saratoga County Democratic Chairman Larry Bulman " who was recently picked for vice chairman of the New York State Committee " said that the Democratic Party in Saratoga County has never been stronger, pointing to an increased number of Democrats in elected positions and a 300 percent increase in attendance at county committee meetings.
"I was saddened to see Patti leave, especially with not having any dialogue with myself or any other officers in the party," said Bulman. He added that he believes Patrick Southworth's loss to be a motivator, and branded him as a divider.
"He's not at all interested in unifying the party," he said of Southworth. "Patti's decision to leave has the worst reflection on her husband and the Ballston Committee."
Supervisor Southworth acknowledged the possibility of strained relations stemming from her decision, but stood by it as the proper thing to do.
"I hope that the residents of the town realize I have to be true to my beliefs," said Southworth.""