The only contested election in Woodstock did not yield much suspense on November 7. It was always going to be an uphill climb for Barry Samuels, waging a write in candidacy after being denied a ballot spot in the September 12 Democratic primary due to a petition challenge.
While write in ballots totaled an impressive 453 (it is unclear how many of them belong to Samuels because the Board of Elections does not tabulate them on election night unless they are numerous enough to be a deciding factor) Samuels found himself swamped on election day by the expected Democratic tidal wave, carrying appointed incumbent Richard Heppner to his first elected term with 1580 votes, and Lorin Rose into office with 1338 votes. Both have now signed on for full four year terms. Republicans did not field any candidates for the 2017 elections in Woodstock, being on the extreme short end of the demographic rope.
“I’m grateful for the support from the town of Woodstock,” Heppner said Tuesday as candidates gathered in the Station Bar & Curio for the election returns. “Hopefully we can keep moving Woodstock forward.”
Rose said the campaign was a “pretty good ride” with the exception of a few “unsavory” letters to the editor. “I’m looking forward to serving the town,” he said. “I want to thank everyone who supported me and voted for me. Pretty soon it will be time to get to work.”
Elected without opposition was town supervisor Bill McKenna, who cruised home with 1608 votes. McKenna was elevated to the supervisor position from his town board spot when Woodstock’s longest serving town supervisor Jeremy Wilber passed away on New Year’s Day. He said he considered Tuesday’s results a vote of confidence. “I thank the voters very much for having confidence in me. I had an easy run this year, no doubt. I do appreciate that they had confidence,” McKenna said. “I am also very glad they had the wisdom to give me two good new board members. Politics is a team sport. It’s not an individual sport. It really does take a team to run this town.”
McKenna had high praise for both Heppner and Rose.
“Both of them will be very willing and able to roll up their sleeves and get things done.”
As for Samuels, he said during his campaign he’d give it a go in another two years when Town Council seats will be up again, but he’ll do a better job getting on the ballot.
He reiterated that pledge again the morning after election on Facebook. “Thank you to all my friends who wrote me in. I will be back,” Samuels wrote.
A family affair
It wasn’t only Richard Heppner winning election that had his family excited. His son, the incumbent county legislator from District 23 Jonathan Heppner won a second term with an unopposed run. The district includes all of Woodstock and part of Hurley.
In so doing, Heppner gathered 2363 — the highest total of any legislator in the county, opposed or unopposed.
And longtime town justice Richard Husted also coasted to an unopposed victory with 1720 votes.
At the end of the evening Richard Heppner summed it up.
“I want to thank everybody that came out. For an off-year election, there wasn’t a lot on the ballot. Woodstockers came out in great force and did an incredible job. I really have to thank everyone who supported me, wrote letters, encouraged me. It’s been a good day.”