Talk about bringing disparate political parties together. One of the interesting battles facing voters on Primary Day next Tuesday, September 12, involves District No. 22, incorporating the towns of Denning, Hardenburgh, Olive and Shandaken. And a total of three candidates in two races.
How did incumbent John Parete wind up running in both the Republican and Democratic primaries?
A few months back, it seemed for a moment that Parete, a longstanding bar owner in Boiceville who ran Olive’s Democratic Party for decades, would be easily sailing for his fourth term, given that county Republicans had dismissed any challenges to the former legislature chairman and given him their line. But then, within the week, the former Ulster County Democratic Party chair, who’d once helped helm his party to its first legislative majority in decades, lost his party’s caucus to Kathy Nolan of Shandaken, a Catskill Mountainkeeper regional director and former candidate for her town’s supervisor position.
Parete set about getting signatures to force a primary vote against Nolan.
Simultaneously, former GOP town board member Cliff Faintych of Denning, a professional financial advisor with offices across from the county Election Board’s offices in Kingston, got enough signatures to force Parete into a primary on the Republican line.
Last Spring, Faintych’s pitch to be a candidate for his party was rejected by GOP party elders who told him they owed Parete for having helped them during a two year stint when their members helped elect Parete chairman of the county legislature to spite a Democratic majority.
Sooo…In the Democratic primary come Tuesday, Parete is facing an opponent who has pointed out the incumbent’s support for Republican candidates and issue stances, and caucus actions against the party. On the GOP side he’s facing a bonafide Republican with fiscal experience, who found his attempts to face Parete as a Democrat thwarted.
Hand it to the registered Democratic and Republican voters of Denning, Hardenburgh, Olive and Shandaken to decide what’s what, and whether November’s election sees Nolan or Faintych facing each other or Parete, or the latter simply facing himself.