Well over 800 New Paltz Democrats voted in contests to select candidates for town supervisor and council races on Tuesday, September 12. The first Democratic primary for New Paltz town races resulted in a higher turnout than is typical for an off-year primary; 829 ballot were cast in total. That may be because in recent years candidates on the Democratic line usually coast to victory in November, but in the past those candidates were decided by the 300 or so people able to attend the party caucus.
For supervisor, Neil Bettez had a decisive victory with 557 votes to Marty Irwin’s 203. Daniel Torres had the most votes in the town council race (612), followed by David Brownstein’s 587 and Jennifer Ippolito, who received 236. There were 56 write-in votes cast for supervisor and 115 for town council; the names written in were not immediately available. The numbers also do not include absentee ballots, which are tabulated at a later date.
“I’m excited about the turnout,” said Bettez when he heard the results. “I think it shows that a primary serves the voters better than a caucus.” It also tells him that town residents are “generally supportive about what we are doing.”
Irwin, who has two years remaining in his term on the town council, agreed with his opponent’s assessment. Congratulating Bettez for his victory, he went on to say, “I think we ran an informative and substantive campaign, but obviously the voters believe the current administration is meeting their needs,” he said when reached for comment. “As a town councilman, I will continue to lend my voice and experience to help New Paltz move forward.” As he has secured both the Independence and Women’s Equality party lines, Irwin could continue the campaign, but on that question he said, “That remains to be determined.”
“It shows that people pay attention, and appreciate what we’ve done,” said Torres.
This was Brownstein’s first foray into New Paltz politics, and he found the conversations with neighbors as he campaigned to be gratifying and educational. As the process unfolds, he said he hopes to bring a “different level of civility” to board proceedings, such that “meetings get extra boring.”
Ippolito could not be reached for comment by press time.
Torres also observed that he thought the results shows that New Paltz voters engage in “people, not party, politics.”