Mayoral candidate Ethan Scott Barnett said that he’s confident he will have a spot on November’s ballot after he submitted a petition this week with more than 750 signatures to secure a spot for the “Kingston People’s Party.”
If the petitions are accepted the 26-year-old graduate student and civil rights historian will become the second candidate challenging incumbent Democrat Steve Noble’s bid for a second term.
Barnett submitted his petitions on May 28, the deadline for independent nominations. To secure a spot on the ballot, he needs 460 valid signatures from people registered to vote in the City of Kingston. Barnett said that he gathered over 750 signatures in a grass-roots effort that took him to venues and social gatherings all across the city.
“People have been really receptive,” said Barnett. “I’ve had friends sign, people have had mini signing parties. I’ve had people tell me, ‘Stop by my grandmother’s 80th birthday party, there will be 20 people there who will sign.’”
Barnett has positioned himself as a more progressive alternative to Noble and a more authentic voice for the city’s working families. He has spoken out against the proposed Kingstonian development in Uptown Kingston and in favor of stronger anti-gentrification efforts. Barnett said he’s met many voters unhappy with the city’s direction and others who wanted to bring new voices and fresh ideas into city government.
“I’ve had people who want to volunteer on a superficial level and people who want to volunteer because they want to start a revolution,” said Barnett. “People who want a city government that’s more people-focused and less developer-focused.”
If Barnett’s petitions are accepted, it will set up a three-way race for the Mayor’s office in November. Noble also faces a challenge from Ellen DiFalco, running on the Republican and Independence Party lines. DiFalco, a former clerk of the Ulster County Legislature and confidential secretary to former Mayor Shayne Gallo, has been a persistent critic of Noble’s financial policies and handling of ethics complaints.