BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) – Democrats dominate Thursday’s primary elections, but there’s at least one local Republican race of intrigue.
Crouch has served the assembly district covering parts of Broome, Chenango, Delaware and Otsego County since 1995.
“I only had two opponents in 23 years which tells me I’m representing the conscience of my district pretty well,” Crouch said.
Crouch is 73, but says he feels like he’s 59. For him, rumors of his retirement are frustrating.
“You know you get to a certain age people think ‘well, okay, he’s going to retire, been here for a while,'” he said. “I love what I do.”
Last year, Crouch said Libous approached him about entering politics.
“He wanted some advice on getting ready to run for office. He stated ‘I would never run against you, but I’m looking at your district’. He thought that was a good match.”
“No, I told him that I’m looking to run for the seat,” Libous countered. “I never said one way or the other I’m going to do this or I’m going to do that.”
“I told him I’m looking to run for the seat,” Libous repeated.
Libous calls Crouch an Albany insider. He said he’s served too long and there needs to be term limits in Albany.
Libous said he’d support a bill for term limits, though, he wouldn’t say if he’d institute them on himself if the bill doesn’t pass.
It’s worth noting that like Crouch, Libous’ father, Tom Libous, also served for at least two decades as former Binghamton-area state senator and Deputy Senate Majority Leader.
Tom Libous left office in 2015 after being convicted of lying to the FBI. He died the next year of prostate cancer while awaiting an appeal so his conviction was vacated.
“My father did serve at a different time and my father continued to move up through the ranks securing funding for the community,” Libous said.
“That was a different time; he was a different person. I think for the future, we need term limits,” Libous added. “I would’ve argued that, yeah, we could’ve used term limits then.”
“He’s running on his father’s name,” Crouch said. “He’s trying to make himself an extension of his father.”
Crouch isn’t alone in that feeling. Tom Morrone has spent 38 years as Chenango County Republican Committee Chair. He worked with Tom Libous.
“His father was the salt of the earth. So was mine,” Morrone said. “You can’t run or work on your father’s coattails.”
Morrone and the Chenango Republicans are supporting Crouch in the race. He thinks Libous has a future, but maybe he should start at a lower office.
Libous said, it’s true. He’s not shying away from his family name, but he’s running on his business record. He’s run a small business, Wireless Construction Solutions, since 2008.
Anyway, he says, that’s not for a party head to decide.
“What he is doing is taking the power out of the hands of the people and putting it in his own along with Bijoy Datta,” Libous said.
Datta is the head of the Broome County Republicans. Libous described him as “one of the more dirty operatives in politics today, locally.” He also blamed Datta for mailers that he says have false information about him.
Multiple phone calls and emails to Datta and the Broome Republicans weren’t returned.
On the other side, Crouch claims mailers accusing him of nefarious behavior are also untrue.
After the primary, the race between those two might not be over. Libous has received the nomination of the Conservative party meaning he’ll be on the ballot in November.
Even with a loss Libous plans to hang around until November.