Harrietstown Supervisor candidates Tom Catillaz (D) and Bob Bevilacqua (R).
Ten days after Saranac Lake Village Trustee Tom Catillaz (D) suspended active campaigning in the town of Harrietstown supervisor race, he jumped back into the ring.
Like the Oct. 9 announcement saying he was no longer campaigning, Catillaz’s Oct. 19 announcement came in the form of an email to the media. The earlier message came from Mayor Clyde Rabideau’s email address and was from his campaign manager, Chad McCarthy. The latest email was more personalized, coming from Catillaz’s address:
“The race is back on. I have decided to get back in the race and I am very excited about it. Tom.”
On Oct. 9, Catillaz said he was suspending his active campaign indefinitely for the Harrietstown supervisor race — also cancelling the Oct. 16 debate with Republican challenger and Harrietstown Councilman Bob Bevilacqua — citing a “serious family medical situation out-of-state” as the reason, but he did not elaborate. He later told the Valley News he wished not to have the details of his family’s situation in the newspapers or on the radio.
Even after the announcement, Catillaz’s campaign signs remained intact around town and he stayed on the ballot while he took some time off to deal with the family crisis.
“Things have calmed down a little bit,” Catillaz said in an interview at the village offices before the Village Board’s Oct. 22 meeting. “They haven’t disappeared, but they have certainly calmed down. I’ve gotten my focus back, and I am very excited about this.”
Asked if there was something his family said to prompt him to get back into the race, Catillaz said, “I have the full support of everyone in my family and my peers on this board out here. They all thought it would be a good idea. They knew I needed to take a little break, but after two weeks they said, ‘You know, you need to make a decision here’ ... They didn’t have to talk to me for very long. I was thinking of it all along. For a week, I was not, and then it started to come back in as everything else settled down a little bit.”
Catillaz was knocking on doors over the weekend, meeting with residents and asking for votes.
Oct. 29 debate
On Oct. 21, two days after Catillaz jumped back into the supervisor’s race, his opponent issued a prepared statement calling for a debate. Bevilacqua asked the organizers of the cancelled Oct. 16 debate — Denton Publications and the Adirondack Daily Enterprise (ADE) — to reschedule it as soon as possible.
“The voters of the town of Harrietstown were really not given the opportunity to hear both candidates discuss the issues in open forum,” Bevilacqua said. “I believe it is important that this debate be rescheduled. I am willing to meet in a debate anytime, anywhere leading up to the Nov. 6 election.”
The next day, both candidates agreed to meet in a debate at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29 at the Harrietstown Town Hall, 39 Main St. It will feature a panel of journalists, including Denton Publications Assistant Managing Editor Andy Flynn and ADE Senior Staff Writer Chris Knight, and it will be moderated by ADE Managing Editor Peter Crowley.
To suggest a question to the panel, email Andy Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org or Peter Crowley at email@example.com.
Catillaz said he is looking forward to the debate.
“I have a lot of respect for Bob,” Catillaz said. “It’s been a clean contest so far, and I think it will remain that way.”