Wilson Pakula – Ruining Politics One District At a Time

For those not too familiar with the term, a Wilson Pakula is an authorization given by a political party to a candidate seeking public office in New York which allows the candidate to run on the political party’s line even though they are not registered for that party. This is sadly a way too common occurrence going on today that I think is destroying politics.

Some people would argue a Wilson Pakula for an individual because the person share’s in some of the beliefs of the party line they are seeking. My response to that argument would be that they should re-register with that party then. Others argue that an individual should be granted a Wilson Pakula because the party does not have any other people interested in running for that seat. My response to that argument would be that I would rather see my party’s line blank than allow voters to be duped into voting for a Democrat or Liberal or what have you because their name is on the Republican line.

This is a disgraceful practice in politics that has been abused for far too long. Often I feel that when a Wilson Pakula is being suggested for an individual, there is also more to the story than what is being told. Was a deal made in the back room of an office in Albany or a corner table of a neighborhood restaurant? A little quid pro quo?

The initial intent of the law put into place in the 1940s was to protect the Republican and Democrat parties in NY from losing elections to individuals running on their lines that were associated with the American Labor Party, which had close ties to the Communists. Yes, the Communists. My how far we have strayed from protecting our party lines from Communists during the Cold War to just handing our lines over to people of other party affiliations.

A court case, Werbel v Gernstein, held that “the Wilson-Pakula Law was designed to protect the integrity of political parties and to prevent the invasion into or the capture of control of political parties by persons not in sympathy with the principles of such political parties.” I ask that people remember that before they so aggressively try to convince people of their own party to go against their party’s values.
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About Gene Berardelli, Esq.

To learn more about the author, check out the "About Us" page. Behind Enemy Lines Radio is a national Award-Winning radio show / podcast broadcasting live out of the belly of the Democratic beast - "The People's Republic of" New York City that airs on multiple radio stations as part of the Talk America Radio Network. It is also an "Insider" column on Newsmax featuring show hosts Gene Berardelli and Russell Gallo. The show is also available on multiple networks across the internet, with more being added regularly.


  1. Look at you getting all legal and stuff! Great post, D!

    Rudy Giuliani may never have been elected Mayor if it wasn’t for the cross-endorsement of his candidacy by the Liberal Party, as his margin of victory over then-Mayor David Dinkins was less than the number of votes he obtained from registered Liberals–who routinely disagree with Republicans–on their own line. But then again, Liberal party leaders were indicted for corruption and the party lost its ballot status. ;-)

    My opinion is in line with yours - the law's intent is frustrated by corruption, and the law perpetuated the existence of duplicative minor parties that insist on wagging the dog. NY's minor political parties should be made to stand on their own two feet and not be allowed to maintain their ballot status by piggy-backing off of a major party's candidate.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. I fixed the viewing issue that the commentor brought to our attention - Thanks, Matt!

    2. And yes, I spelled commentor like "tormentor" intentionally :-P

  3. Thanks Gene. Great points Diana. A classic example of a once good idea being over used and overstaying it's welcome.

  4. I agree that it has become way to convenient for the party to fill the ballot by endorsing Democrats who's only interest in getting the republican line is to pick up more votes. With that being said, when a candidate comes to the party to ask for support and explains how they would advocate for the party's interests and we don't have a better candidate to put on the line, then we should give the voters a chance to vote for a decent democrat on the republican line.


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