Ulster Dems pick Figueroa over VanBlarcum for sheriff, Cahill over Uchitelle for assembly

By overwhelming margins, county Democrats have endorsed long-time assemblyman Kevin Cahill of Kingston for a twelfth term and welcomed newcomer Juan Figueroa of Plattekill as their candidate for sheriff over three-term Democrat Paul VanBlarcum.

Cahill defeated uptown Kingston businessman Abe Uchitelle 16,225 to 5856 (73 percent) in weighted voting. Figueroa bested VanBlarcum 8485 to 1516 (85 percent).

Cahill and Uchitelle, and the 103rd Assembly District. Click here for a detailed view of the district.


Weighted voting takes into account votes cast on major-party lines for candidates in the previous gubernatorial election. Cahill’s Assembly district covers about 60 percent of Ulster County. A number of Cahill voters left the standing-room-only convention at the Best Western Plus in Kingston Monday night after results were announced in that race.

Daniel Torres, a New Paltz deputy supervisor, nominated Figueroa, a retired state trooper and ex-Marine. Torres, in an impassioned speech loudly cheered by the more than 300 in attendance, cited issues of race, gender and gun control as reasons for the Democrats to endorse him.

Paul VanBlarcum (photo by Dan Barton) and Juan Figueroa (Provided)

VanBlarcum was nominated by former Ulster County treasurer Lewis Kirschner. The sheriff will contest the Democratic primary against Figueroa. (Read more about both candidates.) VanBlarcum is expected to receive the Republican nomination when that party’s committeepersons meet in convention next week in Kingston.


In other action:

Rosendale councilwoman Jen Metzger was nominated by KT Tobin of New Paltz as the party’s candidate in the 42nd State Senate district being vacated by retiring state senator John Bonacic.

Jen Metzger and the 42nd Senate District – click to view detailed map


Kingston mayor Steve Noble nominated Patrice Strong of Kingston for Senate in the 46th district held by Republican George Amedore.

Patrice Strong and the 46th Senate District – click for detailed map


County legislator Kathy Nolan of Shandaken nominated Joyce St. George of Middletown for Senate in the district presently represented by James Seward.

Joyce St. George with the 51st State Senate District – click for detailed map


Orange County assemblyman James Skoufis was nominated by Marlborough supervisor Al Lanzetta to succeed retiring state senator Bill Larkin in the 39th district.

James Skoufis with the 39th State Senate District – click for detailed map


Lanny Walter of Saugerties nominated Aidan O’Connor Jr. of Greene County for the 102nd Assembly District, which was formerly held by Peter Lopez and now occupied by Chris Tague, who defeated O’Connor for the seat in a special election last month.

Aidan O’Connor and the 102nd Assembly District – click for detailed map


County Democratic chairman Frank Cardinale predicted that “the Hudson Valley will determine the Senate majority.” It very well might.

Democrats also endorsed elections commissioner Ashley Dittus of Kingston for a two-year term.

There were no nominations for Congress.

There are 9 comments

  1. Blue Wave Rider

    This was an uneventful affair until the challenged Assembly and Sheriff vote. Most of the speeches were cookie cutter and typical of what one would expect from the Dems and their candidates It was very obvious the Dems wanted Cahill to stay on the road he is on and VanBlarcum to take the next exit A.S.A.P.. The Sheriff has been in hot water over his Right leaning positions for years but no one stepped up to challenge him, until now. The Dems saw this opportunity to put someone more in line with their thinking on their ballot line and took it. I found it interesting that County Executive Mike Hein showed up for about 15 minutes and did not vote for Sheriff. Hein stayed just long enough to presumably be one of the very few who voted for his own former campaign employee Uchitelle. It kind of gives credence to the theory that Uchitelle took on this fools errand at the behest of his former boss doesn’t it? Hein , not so surprisingly didn’t stick around for the results of the contest knowing that his alleged protege’ would get crushed.

  2. Rosendalean

    Correction: it’s Joyce St. George in the 51st State Senate district.

    Also endorsed were Chad McEvoy for the 101st Assembly district, and Steve Gold for the 100th Assembly District (the seat vacated by the late Frank Skartados).

  3. Rosendalean

    Also, Blue Wave Rider: County Executive Mike Hein isn’t a voting member of the county Democratic committee. Few elected officials are.

  4. Blue Wave Rider

    Rosendalean. You are correct that most elected officials are not voting members, but Mike Hein is. He is a committeeman from the Town of Hurley and therefore eligible to vote, which he did. I was there, heard them call his name, saw him vote, and saw him leave. If you don’t believe me, it is public record and all you have to do is ask the Board of Elections or anyone else who was there.

    1. Rosendalean

      Blue Wave Rider: you are correct! I didn’t know Hein was a committee member. I apologize for my incorrect correction.

  5. conscience time

    Uchitelle’s campaign threw some light on Cahill’s record of taking big money from corporate lobbies, notably insurance, and Cahill’s feuding with other elected officials. I hope Cahill learns to make up and play nice with his colleagues who represent residents here in the Hudson Valley, rather than resting on his laurels, as he has done for years. Bravo for Figueroa! Blarcum joining the Republicans should come as no surprise.

  6. truthtim

    Actually the Sheriff HAS changed. He used to keep a low profile and do his job, not…
    Advocate for more guns on the streets
    Run warrant checks at social services
    Voice opposition to NFL players taking a knee on the Official Sheriff’s page
    Advocate for child informants
    Have scandal after scandal with his employees
    Meet with Trump in the Oval Office…..

  7. JamaicaonHudson

    Very thankful that Van Blarcum wasn’t nominated. He’s not a real Democrat and, quite frankly, has become an embarrassment. Even if he wins reelection (which is a real possibility), he shouldn’t be helped by a party whose ideals he clearly doesn’t adhere to…

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