Shandaken leans left

Gael Alba and Pete DiSclafani celebrate their Shandaken council victory. (photo by Violet Snow)

Gael Alba and Pete DiSclafani celebrate their Shandaken council victory. (photo by Violet Snow)

Shandaken Democrats were jubilant on Election Night as their candidates swept the council and assessor races. “We feel great!” said former town supervisor Pete DiSclafani, celebrating his council win, especially gratifying after his loss in the 2011 race. He added, “It was a nailbiter!” Although the polls closed at 9 p.m., Democrats who were gathered at DiSclafani’s Mount Tremper restaurant, Catskill Rose, had to wait until 10:30 p.m. to see final results posted on the Ulster County Board of Elections website.

“I’m absolutely elated!” agreed Gael Alba, an R.N., who led the pack in votes for council member, beating Republican planning board chair and surveyor Don Brewer, retired restaurateur Russ Roefs, and the Conservative candidate, lifetime Shandaken resident Randy Ostrander, who trailed the field. The Republicans waited for results at the Sportsman’s Bar in Phoenicia but cleared out early.


Fionna Tanzillo and Dave Channon handily won assessor seats on the Democratic line, over Republicans John Horn and Jeff Feldman.

Former Shandaken Democratic Committee chair Dave Pillard noted that the unopposed incumbents, supervisor Rob Stanley, highway superintendent Eric Hofmeister, and town clerk Joyce Grant, all received more votes from Democrats than from other parties, accounting for about 54 percent of each candidate’s tally. “And we got town council and assessor,” said Pillard. “It’s the best we’ve ever done in Shandaken. Now all the council members are Democrats, and even though the supervisor is a Republican, you could call him a centrist. This was a big deal.”

This year 797 ballots were cast. In 2013, at the last local election, 969 people voted in Shandaken, while 1203 voted in 2011. The surprise was that so many Democrats turned out, given the light participation at this year’s Democratic caucus, as compared with the more well-attended Republican caucus.

The council member unofficial results were Gael Alba 401; Peter DiSclafani 362; Donald Brewer 328; Russell Roefs 247; and Randy J. Ostrander 156.

In the assessor race, the final unofficial counts were Fionna Tanzillo 397; Dave Channon 373; John Horn 322; and Jeffry Feldman 294.