On August 10, dozens of Gardiner Republicans caucused at Town Hall to choose their slate of candidates for this November’s town and county elections. It was a brief affair, with no opponents stepping up to challenge the nominees endorsed by the Gardiner Republican Committee, so no balloting was necessary.
Perhaps the most unusual development of the evening, though not unanticipated, was the choice of two registered Democrats as GOP nominees, after the Gardiner Democrats voted them down in their own recent caucus. Marybeth Majestic was nominated to run against Carl Zatz for the office of town supervisor. And incumbent councilman Mike Reynolds, whose term is coming to an end but was not endorsed for reelection by the Dems — “due to my rift with the supervisor,” in Reynolds’ words — instead got the Republican nod to run for one of the two open Town Board slots.
Bruna Rondinelli, who tells a compelling story of her immigrant roots and how she had to work three jobs and then put herself through college when her husband died shortly after they came to the US in 1972, was the Gardiner GOP’s other Town Board nominee. Reynolds and Rondinelli will be contending with Democrats Warren Wiegand and Laura Walls for the council seats.
Longtime police officer Frank Petrone, who said that he is “looking to switch over to the judicial end of the spectrum,” received the GOP nomination to vie with incumbent Bruce Blatchly for the post of town justice. And town highway superintendent Brian Stiscia won’t need to campaign this fall at all, as the Republicans added their blessing to that of the other parties for his continuance in that post for another term.
Town Board incumbent John Hinson, who ran on the People for Gardiner line in 2013, has been designated Gardiner’s Republican candidate for Ulster County Legislature District 16, which incorporates four districts in Gardiner and two in the Town of Shawangunk. Hinson will be running against incumbent Democratic legislator Tracey Bartels.
Also putting in an appearance at the caucus in search of Gardiner votes was former County Legislature chair Terry Bernardo, who is running against incumbent Democrat Mike Hein for the office of county executive. Bernardo said that her interest in returning to public office was mainly piqued by the controversy over what to do with the Kingston section of the old Catskill Mountain Railroad tracks. Hein is committed to removing the tracks and converting the railbed into a pedestrian trail, while Bernardo favors reactivating the privately owned railway line. She also contended that Ulster County “could have a more business-friendly atmosphere.”