Election inspectors (left to right): Edna Clark, Chris Devlin and Candi Schermerhorn check registrations of voters in the Thurman Town Hall, in the Nov. 5 General Election that has commanded considerable regional attention. The inspectors were brought in from outside the town because of voter intimidation allegedly occuring in the Primary.
In a dramatic turnaround from the crushing defeat she endured in the Republican Primary, incumbent Thurman town supervisor Evelyn Wood topped former town supervisor John Haskell by a vote of 251 to 228 in election night vote totals.
The results of this contest, perhaps the highest-profile race in the county this year, absentee ballots will be deciding the outcome. Fifty were sent out, and as of Monday Nov. 4, forty were returned.
Wood said after the polls closed she was happy with the outcome, particularly with the very high percentage of the eligible voters casting votes, compared to other towns or regions across the state.
“This is a really high turnout and a real compliment to the people of Thurman,” she said. “I’m awed and thankful for all the support.”
Last year, while Wood had earned praise by many for straightening out town finances and working long hours to direct the effort to recover from the 2012 floods that devastated the town’s infrastructure.
But she sparked strong opposition in late 2012 when she and the town board voted against funding the local ambulance squad which had uncertain finances. Wood and the town board also voted to discontinue municipal trash collection to keep taxes from soaring.
The groundswell of public opposition to these actions filled the town hall with angry citizens, prompting Haskell to run again. The two Republicans faced off in the September G.O.P. primary, and Haskell won with a dramatic 159-78 vote margin.
Regardless of the grim tally, Wood didn’t flinch — she predicted that the independents and Democrats in the General Election would overcome that huge vote gap.
Democrats undoubtedly made the difference in Wood’s election-night victory, as 154 people cast votes on the Democratic line — and there are only 158 Democrats registered in Thurman, which has a total population of only 1200.
Andy Templeton, leader of the newly revived Democratic Party, said late Tuesday night that he had phoned nearly every Democrat in town.
“I didn’t tell them how to vote, I just urged them to get out and vote — and show New York State that Thurman takes voting seriously,” he said. “I’m ecstatic about the results.”
Templeton’s wife, however, lost her last-minute write-in campaign for town board that apparently garnered 115 votes — but her opponents, Michael Eddy and Daniel Smith — who ran aligned with Haskell— received 237 and 275 votes respectively, and they will be taking their seats on the board in January. Incumbent Thurman Highway Superintendent Patrick S. Wood (Rep.), easily defeated challenger Howard Cook, 347 to 77.
In neighboring Warrensburg, Town Supervisor Kevin Geraghty fought back a challenge from former town supervisor Maynard Baker, by a vote of 594 to 309. Baker gave Geraghty a formidable opposition for the post in 2009. Geraghty ran his record of effective leadership in both the town and county. He has been either county Budget Officer or Chairman of the Board of Supervisors in recent years, an era when he and others slashed county government expenses and trimmed payroll.
Baker had campaigned on preserving property rights and minimizing government interference. He had also pledged to establish a hydropower station on the Schroon River, which he said would reduce the tax burden — an idea that Geraghty said was not feasible due to its high expense — and lack of grant money. Baker had characterized Geraghty as a spendthrift, which angered Geraghty, as he had reduced the tax rate to a level lower than it was many years ago.
“I’m pleased that citizens understood my hard work over the last four years for both the town and county,” he said. “They saw through rhetoric and voted for results.”
For Warren County Judge & Surrogate, incumbent John S. Hall Jr. (Dem.), a native of Thurman and former Warrensburg attorney, defeated Ted Wilson, a court attorney for Washington County Court. In this tight, high-profile contest, Hall polled 7,830 to Wilson’s 7,230. Wilson supporters had questioned whether Hall was too selective in issuing pistol permits; Hall’s supporters cited the sitting judge’s experience and record on the bench.
In Bolton, two-term incumbent Town Supervisor Ron Conover withstood a challenge from Kam Hoopes, a former local Zoning Board of Appeals member in a vote of 606 to 260. Conover said it was “humbling” to go through a campaign challenge. “It’s a pleasure and privilege to serve as supervisor of Bolton,” he said.
For the post of Bolton Highway Superintendent, Democrat William Sherman achieved a slim 446-419 election-night margin over Republican Matthew Coon, brother of present superintendent Tim Coon who’s retiring. Independent candidate Anton Cooper finished a distant third with 17 votes.
In Lake George, Incumbent Vinnie Crocitto and political newcomer Nancy Stannard — a retired teacher — beat out former county Public Works Chief Fred Austin and Kevin Mulcahy for two open town board seats. Crocitto and Stannard received 683 and 530 votes respectively, against 468 for Austin and 304 for Mulcahy.
Stannard said she had campaigned hard, door-to-door, and that when in office, she’ll pursue her goals, while listening to the concerns of citizens.
“I want to make sure we upgrade our water and sewer infrastructure before we buy any more property,” she said. “I’ll try to keep everything fiscally sound and work with who’s now there on the board.”
In Horicon, long-term board members Frank Hill and Robert Olson were re-elected, turning back a challenge from Georgia McMeekin. The votes were 397, 302 and 199, respectively.
Incumbent Johnsburg Town Supervisor Ron Vanselow (Dem., Cons.) defeated Curtis C. Richards (Ind.) 418 to 150. For the post of Johnsburg Town Clerk, present Deputy Town Clerk Jo Ann Smith (Rep., Ind.) beat Sharalee Falzerano (Dem., Ind.) by a vote of 342 to 221.
For two seats on the Johnsburg Town Board, Republicans Katharine Nightingale and Arnold Stevens thwarted a challenge by Robert Nessle. The vote tallies were 428, 404 and 186 respectively.
For Johnsburg Town Justice, incumbent Vincent Schiavone (Rep.), fought off challenges by Howard E. Tucker Sr. (Rep.) and James W. Haker (Ind.). The tallies were 374 , 64 and 110, respectively.
In Queensbury, no less than nine candidates were vying for four at-large seats on the Warren County Board of Supervisors. Rachel Seeber (Rep.) a newcomer to politics, apparently worked hard at campaigning. She topped all candidates, including incumbents, with her 3,486 votes. Mark Westcott (Rep., Cons.), who’s made a name for himself by fighting government mandates and spending, came in second with 3,327 votes. The sociable incumbent Republican Matthew Sokol polled 2,860, followed by former local school board member Douglas Beaty (Rep.) with 2825 votes. Two hard-working incumbents, David Strainer and Bill Mason, both Democrats, have apparently lost their seats in the Republican sweep. Strainer had worked with the Republican board majority for years, earning their respect for his keen attention on the issues. Trailing were Dean Boecher (Dem.) with 1,846 votes, present Queensbury Town Supervisor Ron Montesi with 1,449, and former board member William Brown (Dem.) with 1,367. For the Queensbury Town board Ward 4 seat, seven-term incumbent Tim Brewer lost his seat. In the Election Day tally, Jennifer Switzer (Dem.), who serves as the chief financial officer of EDC Warren County was the apparent winner with 961 votes, edging out former at-large county supervisor William
Van Ness (Rep.) who polled 948 votes.
In Johnsburg, the free-wheeling incumbent Supervisor Ron Vanselow won re-election, fending off a challenge by Curtis Richards in a 418-150 vote. For Town Clerk, present Deputy Town Clerk Jo Ann Smith outpolled challenger Sharalee Falzerano, 342 to 221.
Town Justice Vincent Schiavone received 374 votes to defeat his challengers, James Haker (110 votes) and Howard Tucker Sr. (64 votes). For Town Board, Republican Arnold Stevens (428 votes) and Katharine Nightingale (404 votes) outpolled Democrat Robert Nessle (186 votes).