The Eagle’s View: Saugerties county legislature candidates

What appeared as a full slate of Democratic candidates for the three Saugerties county legislature seats after their July convention has turned into two.

That’s because their district-3 candidate didn’t reside in the district. He had one of two choices to make.  Move into district-3 or get off the ballot. He chose to get off the ballot rather than pack his belongings and move at least two miles down the road.

One comment made to me was how anybody seeking office wouldn’t know who was on the ballot two years earlier when they voted, that they now wanted to run against. Good point.


Democrats had a few weeks to come up with a replacement candidate — but alas — their attempts were futile.

Without an opponent on the ballot, Dean Fabiano will be elected to his seventh term in November.

This reminds me a bit of a humorous story the late Bill Poythress once told while campaigning for a county legislator seat on the Democratic line in 1979. Poythress was one of the nicest fellows you could ever meet.

Back then four Republicans ran against four Democrats for the legislature within the town. Poythress was apparently being well received as he knocked on doors with his brochure in hand. He appreciated the reception he was getting until one observant Catskill resident pointed out to Poythress that he would consider voting for Poythress, except for the fact the prospective voter didn’t live in Saugerties. Poythress, you see, had an hour or so earlier crossed the border into Greene County while enthusiastically campaigning.

Poythress probably isn’t the only candidate that’s ever happened to. He just wasn’t embarrassed enough to keep the story to himself.

In district-1, former school board member Michael MacIssac is on the Democratic line facing three-term Republican legislator Mary Wawro. Wawro has been cross-endorsed by the Conservative and Independence Party, giving her three lines. Those three lines have put her over the top in the past when she had Democratic opposition.

MacIssac hopes to duplicate Chris Allen’s victory of four years ago when Allen faced an opponent that carried the Republican, Conservative, and Independence lines as well. Allen had a stunning victory over a seemingly invincible Robert Aiello during the 2013 district-2 race for the legislature, winning 56% to 44%.

This time Allen again faces an opponent carrying the three lines in Joseph Maloney. Allen has the Democratic and Working Families lines.

There’s probably not a harder campaigner in Saugerties who knocks on more doors than Allen. With an opponent that only had a minor party line two years ago, this will be Allen’s first real reelection test.

Lack of fielding opposition can hurt a political party

Political parties that don’t mount an opponent in a race may hurt their candidates on their line that do have opposition. Take the Dean Fabiano race, for instance, where Republican Fabiano is running without Democratic opposition.

Fabiano will surely get his family and friends out to vote. It could be expected that those that are Republicans would cast some votes for other Republicans on the ballot.

The same can’t be said for Democrats since they aren’t running a candidate in the district.

Local elections have a lower turnout of voters than Presidential and Governor election years. When a candidate urges his people to come out and vote, there may be some that might otherwise have stayed home.

This may appear as a small advantage for a political party. But with some Saugerties elections through the years having been won by a handful or a couple of dozen votes, it’s a factor that can put a candidate over the top in a close election.

Odd ballot positions

This year’s ballot for town “councilman” may look a bit odd to voters.

Usually four names appear in two columns, with Republicans side-by-side to Democrats whose names appear directly above or below on another line and side-by-side.

But because of the way the cross endorsements by minor parties worked out this year, placement of names on the ballot of the four candidates will appear in three columns, not two.

Voters just need to remember that as usual, they can vote for any two of the four council candidates (Paul Andreassen, John Schoonmaker, Donald Tucker, Vincent Altieri) no matter what columns the names appear in.

Charge it

In what’s been a relatively mild political campaign, at least up to last week, it seems the biggest issue has come from outside the campaign arena.

The town, through a grant, has installed an electric car charging station with more planned. The town isn’t spending Saugerties taxpayer money on the devices or electric usage by users.

The town sees an economic benefit to having charging stations located within its vicinity. A quick look at or proves their point.

Back in July the village said no to installing charging stations. Reportedly, part of their reasoning was, if gas vehicle owners can’t get free gas, then electric vehicle owners shouldn’t get free electric.

According to Forbes magazine, electric vehicle sales soared in 2016 by 37%. If this trend continues and the electric car revolution is upon us, then the town is ahead of the curve.