“It’s a chance you take,” said incumbent legislator John Parete of District 22 from his Boiceville Inn in the Town of Olive Wednesday morning, following news that the veteran politician had lost primaries for both the wide district’s Democratic and Republican lines in Primary Day voting on September 12. “Every time you get in the ring you have to face the fact that you might get floored.”
According to unofficial county results posted early September 13, Parete lost the Democratic line in the district including Olive, Shandaken and the even more rural towns of Denning and Hardenburgh to Democratic Committee nominee Kathy Nolan of Shandaken by 426 votes to 182.
Parete had long served as the party’s chairman in Olive, and helped Democrats take their first county majority last decade when serving for several years as their countywide chair. He has served as a legislator since 2012, with two years as legislature chairman that resulted when he finagled support from a GOP minority in exchange for nominating some of their members to county committee chairmanships, with scant Democratic support.
Parete also lost Tuesday’s Republican primary, despite county GOP Committee support. The man the Republicans passed over, Cliff Faintych of Denning, defeated Parete 176-166, even though Parete had been voting to the right fairly consistently in recent years.
Balloting for Conservative and Independence party lines on September 12 showed Parete, the only name on the ballot, with 14 votes versus 8 write-ins for Faintych on the Conservative line, and 18 votes on the ballot for the Independence line, versus 11 write-ins for Faintych and 7 write in votes for Nolan. Nolan had two write ins for the Greene Party line, against one for Faintych.
“Upland voters of are independent minded, and they have rejected the cynical rancor of county partisan politics to embrace a new future of improved fiscal oversight with greater responsiveness to our mountain communities,” said Faintych, on September 13.
Confusing matters somewhat, regular primary results posted by the county showed a total 22 votes in the race for the Conservative line, but 41 for Independence Party line, with 23 write-ins; and a total of four votes for the Green Party line.
It was the first local primary in any of the four towns since pitched 2005 battles for supervisor and councilperson lines in Shandaken.
“I am extremely grateful for the support that people have shown me in this primary. The large number of votes cast clearly shows that people in our district are actively engaged in our political process and ready to support a new voice,” Nolan said in a statement Wednesday morning. “What I’ve been saying for a long time is that we need to lead by example in creating sustainable jobs, improving communications and infrastructure, and transitioning to a future that respects rather than exploits our natural environment. As we turn toward November, I look forward to taking this message to all the voters in Olive, Shandaken, Denning, and Hardenburgh.”
September 13 calls and emails to Faintych, who works as a financial advisor in his own Kingston office across from the Ulster County Board of Elections, went unanswered as of press time.
Parete, for his part, said he was as yet uncertain whether he’d continue running for the post he’s held half a decade now.
“I haven’t really looked at everything yet except to see that I lost the Republican line by only ten votes,” he said. “I’ve got to talk to friends and neighbors, to my family and supporters, to see what I do next.”