As a frigid election day dawns, the Saugerties Times polls for three town races have closed.
In the supervisor poll, Greg Helsmoortel took an early lead and never looked back. He finished with 46 percent of the vote to incumbent Kelly Myers’ 31 percent and challenger Gaetana Ciarlante’s 23 percent. Things were closer in the poll’s first several weeks, though over time Helsmoortel went beyond the upper 30s as Ciarlante fell into the low 20s. The incumbent’s number remained steady throughout.
A total of 567 voters participated- about 10 percent of those likely to turnout in today’s election, if past years are any indication.
In the Highway Superintendent poll, after running neck and neck through the first several hundred votes, challenger Ray Mayone pulled away from incumbent Doug Myer, 55 percent to 45 percent.
With only about half as many voters – and far fewer comments – the Town Board race appears to be a less intense one, at least among the online crowd. Incumbent Bruce Leighton and challenger Marjorie Block received 54 percent and 44 percent of the vote, followed by James Bruno and challenger Bill Schirmer with 38 percent and 36 percent.
Leighton is a Democrat-backed member of the Independence Party and Block is a Democrat. Bruno and Schirmer are Republicans.
With Bruno considered by most to be a lock for reelection, do these results suggest our poll swings left because, as one Conservative Party member recently put it in a letter to the editor, Saugerties Times is “traditionally a Democratic newspaper”? And if so, how did Mayone pull off a 10-point win?
Another candidate asked how the Times is accounting for the greater use of computers among Democrats than Republicans.
The answer: we’re not. (Nor are we sure such a thing can be assumed.)
It was just for fun.
The real question is turnout. It’s easier to click a mouse than to get one’s self out to a polling place at the appointed time.
It’s true, Saugerties has more Democrats than Republicans, and more who are not part of any party than either. Obama won Saugerties nearly 60-40, and in the Congressional election, Julian Schreibman edged out Chris Gibson despite being easily defeated district-wide. But in odd-year races, 40 percent fewer people usually vote. That’s traditionally been an advantage for Republicans, especially in Saugerties, where many newcomers register Democrat but often don’t follow local politics.
Add two big-ticket candidates from Conservative Glasco (Mayone and Ciarlante) and two current Republicans in the supervisor race and there’s reason to think Republican turnout will be strong.
But in West Saugerties, County Legislature candidate Beth Murphy has been working hard to get the Woodstock-oriented Saugerstockers to head to the polls, Marjorie Block is a very well known Democrat in the town, and Chris Allen has been campaigning for months for District II Legislature. Democratic turnout should be at least as good as previous odd-years.
See our election guide for articles on these races, with in-depth reports on the supervisor and highway superintendent candidates.