Convening at the Best Western hotel Wednesday evening, the Kingston Democratic Committee voted to endorse Steve Noble over incumbent Shayne Gallo for mayor and incumbent Jim Noble over challenger Jeanette Provenzano for alderman-at-large.
In the weighted voting system used to tally the balloting among city committee members, Steve Noble, a city environmental programs manager and environmental educator, got 1,365 votes; Gallo, seeking his second term in office, got 1,045. Jim Noble, the longtime alderman-at-large and Steve Noble’s uncle, fended off Provenzano, who’s stepping away from the county legislature after 22 years, by a vote of 1,609-748.
In the contested Common Council ward races, newcomer Doug Koop beat Ward 2 incumbent Alderman Brian Seche 1,533-886. In a Ward 6 tussle between newcomers (two-term incumbent Elisa Ball declined to run for re-election), middle-school social studies teacher Tony Davis edged Hale Advisers account executive Alex Panagiotopoulos 1,239-1176.
Other unchallenged Common Council nominees were as follows: In Ward 1, Marist College professor Lynn Eckerd was tapped to succeed Majority Leader Matt Dunn, who also opted to not run again. In Ward 3, incumbent Brad Will was the only nominee. In Ward 4, incumbent Nina Dawson got the nod after the nomination of Daniel Kanter failed to receive a second. In Ward 5, incumbent Bill Carey was nominated without a challenge. In Ward 7, former alderman and council majority leader Bill Reynolds was nominated after incumbent Maryann Mills failed to receive a second. In Ward 8, incumbent Steve Schabot, nominated by Gallo and seconded by Provenzano, got the nod without challenge. In Ward 9, Lynn Johnson, who lost to Republican Deborah Brown two years ago, was nominated without challenge. (“[She’s] the pride of West Chester Street,” said Bob Gollnick, who seconded her nomination.)
All the candidates who got committee endorsements Wednesday aren’t guaranteed lines on the ballot for the September primary. (The state legislature has yet to set the exact date for the primary.) They have to get sufficient signatures for their nominating petitions, but the nominees’ petitions can be carried by Democratic committee members, presumably giving them an edge. Challengers will have to get enough signatures on nominating petitions of their own to get a spot on the primary ballot.
Four years ago, Hayes Clement won the committee nod for mayor over Shayne Gallo, but Gallo forced a primary. Gallo beat Clement by a handful of votes on primary day and went on to crush GOP nominee Ron Polacco in the general election.
“I feel great,” Steve Noble said after his win. “It’s a great endorsement to have, being a relative newcomer to the party. … We’re expecting a primary, so we’re going to be getting out there, knocking on doors, getting signatures and letting people know who I am. The best part of tonight is that it leads to the next step.”
“I want to thank those who nominated [former mayor Jim Sottile] me and seconded [by Karen Markisenis] me and I want to thank all the members of the city committee who had the confidence and faith to support me as their nominee,” Jim Noble said, adding that he was looking forward to running with his nephew. (Earlier this year, he said he would not run if Gallo got the nod.) “He brings a whole new side of Kingston, as far as his environmental views, his energy, his vitality as a young person,” he added, noting that Steve has brought in a lot of grant money and saved the city thousands with its recycling program.
As for the incumbent, Gallo expressed confidence that he would prevail in the primary and said he would run on his record. “I’ll keep pursuing initiatives like the Greenline, bringing back Broadway, seeking funding for new initiatives like the Cedar Street project and continuing to try to stimulate investment in the industrial park.”
Gallo also took a swipe at his foe. “He’s a reflection of a group of old-boy crony Democrats who want to go back to the four years that were prior and a time where people were disconnected to their party and disconnected to their government.”
Provenzano accused city committee Chairman Joe Donaldson of “stacking the committee” and vowed to primary Noble in September. “I still think I can win,” she said.