Otsego County Democratic Chairman Richard Abbate said the executive committee of the Democratic Party, in the wake of Crowell’s decision, has endorsed Bachman, an Edmeston resident.
The former fiscal manager of Otsego Manor, Bachman gave up that post when he ran for county treasurer in 2005 as an independent. He was narrowly defeated in November 2005 by Republican Myrna Thayne.
Because the deadline for withdrawing nominations was July 15, Democrats are now exploring potential options for having Crowell’s name removed from election ballots in November, Abbate said.
Crowell said he only learned of the deadline for dropping out on July 16, after he returned home on leave. He is scheduled to return to Army duty at the end of this week.
Otsego County GOP Chairwoman Sheila Ross said she believes it will be impossible for Crowell to have his name removed from the ballot.
She also questioned whether it will be possible for supporters of Bachman to come up with 1,000 signatures by Aug. 15 in order to get his name on the ballot.
“It’s a short time to get 1,000 signatures,” she said.
Ross would not say if Republicans will be putting forward a candidate of their own to try to wrest control of the county treasurer’s office, which has a significant say in how the county’s $124 million annual budget is packaged.
“Let’s see what happens,” Ross said.
Crowell, who has been undergoing training at Fort Bragg, was elected county treasurer in November 2009 when he narrowly defeated Republican Edward Keator Jr. of West Oneonta. In an interview in January, he said he was planning to seek re-election, noting then that “I have a high degree of satisfaction in the job I am doing now.”
Ross questioned why Crowell wasn’t aware of the deadline for dropping his candidacy, saying the same timetable existed when he ran four years ago for treasurer.
“I don’t know why he doesn’t remember it,” she said.
Crowell said the recent training he has been undergoing has been particularly grueling, including one class that involved sleep deprivation, when participants could sleep no more than two hours in an entire week. He said more than half of the members of that class washed out of the program.