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).
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.
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.
Kingston mayor Steve Noble nominated Patrice Strong of Kingston for Senate in the 46th district held by Republican George Amedore.
County legislator Kathy Nolan of Shandaken nominated Joyce St. George of Middletown for Senate in the district presently represented by James Seward.
Orange County assemblyman James Skoufis was nominated by Marlborough supervisor Al Lanzetta to succeed retiring state senator Bill Larkin in the 39th district.
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.
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.