Thanksgiving could be an interesting holiday in one western New York family, coming just after a grandson goes head-to-head with his grandfather in a race for town judge.
The Batavia Daily News reported that Bert Mathes, 34, is challenging his grandfather, John Henderson, 73, for town judge in Barre, N.Y., a town of 2,000 people sandwiched between Niagara Falls and Rochester in rural Orleans County. Henderson has been on the town bench for 24 years.
"This is just as if I have another opponent running against me," Henderson, a Democrat, said at his home on Route 31A on Tuesday. "It has nothing to do with my family life. I love all of my grandchildren."
Mathes, 34, said he talked with his grandfather last fall about the part-time position. Henderson said he was considering retiring, but hadn't made up his mind. The Barre Republican Committee was looking for candidates this spring and Mathes said he'd run. He didn't think his grandfather would seek another four-year term.
But Henderson said he feels good and doesn't want to leave the position yet.
This is not the first case of relatives challenging each other for elected office. Last year, Missouri state Rep. Linda Fischer (D) was challenged in her bid for a second term by her then-husband, John Fischer (R). The relationship was not as amicable as the judicial race, as Linda Fischer charged her husband with physical abuse before his challenge. Linda Fischer won the race and now goes by the name Linda Black.
In 2006, two married couples sought Town Council seats in Haymart, Md., following in the footsteps of 1990 Maryland Republican gubernatorial nominee William Shepard, who tapped his wife, Lois, as his running mate for lieutenant governor.