Saugerties re-elects Mayor Bill Murphy; incumbent trustees cruise to victory

Challenger Donald Hackett, left, and Mayor William Murphy pose on Monday, March 18, the day before the election. (Photo by David Gordon)

Saugerties Village Mayor William Murphy easily won his fifth full term in office, defeating challenger Donald Hackett, 326–154. Incumbent village trustees were also re-elected, with Jeannine Mayer receiving 349, Brian Martin, 330 and Jeff Helmuth, 302. Challenger Stephen Beckert was turned away, tallying 170 votes. Board members Terry Parisian and Vincent Buono were not up for election, nor was Hackett’s seat on the board, and so he retains his position as a trustee.

A total of 441 people voted, a figure that is quadruple the turnout at recent uncontested elections. However, Marilyn Daley, watching the polls, said she could recall an election in the 1970s that drew about 1,500 voters.

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Murphy said he was pleased with the turnout and the results. “It was good to see a large turnout; it shows that people care,” he said. He also was glad to see the incumbent trustees re-elected. “They have been doing a good job,” he said. Murphy admitted to being “a little nervous” in the days just before the election. “I had been really busy, and I didn’t feel nervous until just before the election.”

Hackett, reached a home following the count, said he congratulated Murphy on his win, and on a “great campaign. He was a true gentleman.” Campaigns should be like this one, he said. They should focus on the issues, not on personalities.

While Hackett said he is not planning another run for mayor, he hopes someone will step up two years from now, “Democracy is good; people should have a choice. I’m glad I had the opportunity to run for mayor.” As for relations between himself and Murphy, “I think it will go back to normal by the next meeting.”

Mayer said she was happy with the outcome, and surprised at the number of voters. “Normally, we don’t have a lot of people coming out.” The larger than usual turnout “shows people care,” she said.

“I was sorry we didn’t do better,” Stephen Beckert said after his defeat. “But I was glad to see such a good turnout. I have nothing bad to say about the winners.”

Asked whether he would run again, Beckert said he is not sure.

Trustee Jeff Helmuth also said he is happy with the turnout and the interest village citizens are taking in their government. He expects the government to continue to function well. “We’ve worked together as a team; sometimes someone disagreed about how things should be done, but we were always on the same page,” he said.

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