Gardiner residents turned out in droves for what will prove to be a tight election for the two Town Board seats, as well as the town justice position. Democratic incumbent Carl Zatz was declared the winner in the town supervisor’s race, securing 959 votes to Republican challenger Rich Koenig’s 771.
“I don’t think anyone expected this kind of voter turnout,” said Zatz. “We typically only get this kind of voter turnout for a presidential election. What a lively, engaged town Gardiner is and has always been! It’s great to see people so engaged in local politics. I’m very gratified by the support shown to me in this election. I love being the supervisor of Gardiner and look forward to working with the newly constituted Board.”
Asked what his reaction to the results was, Koenig — who ran on the People for Gardiner (P4G) line, along with Town Board candidate John Hinson — said that he was “happy with the turnout. There was a lot of energy for all of the candidates. I offer my congratulations to Carl. Although I will no longer be on the board, I intend to stay involved with the community. I would like to thank everyone who supported me and encourage them to stay involved, too.”
Asked what he hoped the election achieved, Koenig replied, “I would hope that the positive message from all the candidates demonstrates that we are a community that enjoys living here in Gardiner and we have a lot in common.”
Another definitive race was of course the unopposed incumbent town clerk, Michelle Mosher, who received cross-endorsements and brought in 1,704 votes. The only other race that could be called with the unofficial results was that of highway superintendent. Democrat Brian Stiscia, a longtime employee of the Gardiner Highway Department, claimed 1,233 votes to Republican challenger Gary Upright’s 556.
The race for town justice is a close one, with absentee ballots and affidavits yet to be counted. That said, Democratic candidate Bob Rich had the most unofficial votes from the polls with 939 to Republican challenger Carmine Mele’s 867. It appears that Rich will win the seat, but until the absentee ballots are counted it is too tight to call.
The four-way race for two seats on the Gardiner Town Board was incredibly close, with too narrow of an unofficial margin to call as of press time, particularly with the absentee and affidavits yet to be counted. The unofficial results have Republican nominee John Hinson as the highest vote-getter with 895 votes, followed by Democratic challengers David Dukler and Laurie Willow securing 894 votes and 855 votes respectively. Volunteer fireman Jim Miller was not far behind with 849 votes. This race will depend on the absentee ballots for a final determination.
Democratic incumbent Tracey Bartels, representing District 16 (Gardiner and portions of Shawangunk) won a third bid as Ulster County legislator securing 1,184 votes to Republican challenger Frank “Lenny” Zapka’s 985 votes.