How Saugerties Republicans can parlay two election night victories into four town board seats

Republicans don’t hold any seats on the five-member town board at this time. But under one election night scenario, they may hold four on the board come January.

Here’s how that can happen.

First, Republican supervisor candidate and sitting town council member Paul Andreassen would need to beat incumbent Democratic Supervisor Fred Costello Jr.

Secondly, Republican candidate Mike Ivino would need to win one of the two town council seats against his Democratic-endorsed opponents, Leeanne Thornton and Nicole Roskos.


Thirdly, sitting Democratic councilman John Schoonmaker would need to win his race against Chris Allen and Al Bruno for the District 2 County Legislature seat, thereby relinquishing the four-year council seat he won in 2017.

If all that happened, come Jan. 1, there would be two Republican-endorsed town board members (Andreassen and Ivino) and one Democrat-endorsed member (Thornton or Roskos).

That scenario would leave vacant Andreassen’s current council seat as well as Schoonmaker’s.

Come January’s town reorganizational meeting, the two “Republicans” and one “Democrat” would have to vote to fill the two vacancies.

That’s where the two Republican-endorsed board members would have the power to select two Republicans to fill the vacant seats. The board could then have a 4-1 Republican advantage.

It should be noted that Andreassen and Ivino are not registered Republicans. They are registered in the Independence Party, so would likely claim to have open minds and that party affiliation won’t matter in whom they choose to fill the vacancies.

But if the scenario as outlined pans out, town Republicans will be itching to get back into power and will turn the pressure cooker on the candidates they got elected.

Then there’s the Heidcamp Factor

If town Republicans took over the town board with two vacancies to fill, it’s likely Saugerties Conservative Party chairman George Heidcamp would insist one of those vacancies get filled by a Conservative, since the two candidates running on the Republican line are cross-endorsed by Conservatives.

In his eyes it might be a case of whom better than Don Tucker to fill a vacancy? His former comrade, once a registered Conservative and now registered Republican, lost in his 2017 bid for a town council seat.

Or might Heidcamp want one of the vacant seats for himself? He may be getting bored now that he’s been off the school board for a few years.

Other possible scenarios 

The best scenario for Democrats retaining a town board majority would be for Costello to win and for Schoonmaker to lose, thereby retaining his town council seat.

That would insure a 4-1 or 3-2 Democratic majority come January, since Democrats are assured of winning at least one town council seat in this election as Republicans only have one candidate running on their line.

If between Costello and Schoonmaker only one stayed on the town board, a nightmare scenario might ensue. With Andreassen retaining his town council seat and Ivino and one Democratic council candidate winning, that would leave a 2-2 board with a vacancy to fill. Should that be the case, expect fireworks between board members and the political parties in trying to get the vacancy filled come January.

Déjà vu ?

Nicole Roskos may appear to be at a disadvantage in her town council race since Thornton and Ivino have the Independence lines. Ivino has the Conservative line too.  

But Roskos may be heartened by John Schoonmaker’s win over Donald Tucker and Vincent Altieri in 2017, when Schoonmaker rode to victory behind Andreassen with only the Democratic line in tow.

Only one Republican 

Former school board member and current village Trustee Vincent Buono considered running for town council on the Republican line earlier this summer. It didn’t happen.

George Heidcamp probably wouldn’t have given his okay for Buono to get the  Conservative Party nod — almost a requirement for a Republican candidate expecting to have any chance of winning an election, now that Democrats have overtaken Republicans in party registrations in Saugerties.

Articles such as “The Buono Central School District” and “Is Buono Asleep at the Wheel?” that Heidcamp posted on the web over 10 years ago were devastating, and still appear on Heidcamp’s once-popular Saugerties Watchdog web site.

With Republicans only filling one of the two council slots on their line — a first in modern Saugerties politics — a major party doesn’t have a full slate of candidates running for the town council. 

That may be attributed to the shellacking Republican town board members took at the hands of their Democratic-endorsed opponents two years ago.

Mike Ivino stepped forward. But those inclined to vote on the Republican line now only have one name, but two votes. Some may give that second vote to one of the Democratic candidates. That could hurt Ivino, since his Democrat opponents could get some votes that they may not have gotten if Republicans had run two candidates.

There are 3 comments

  1. JR

    This scenario would be great and just what the town needs. Spending is severely out of of control and we need a change. The first change should be a new assessor. We need a fair and unbiased person to value all real estate by the same criteria. Why are some properties so under assessed while others are over assessed? Why do some assessments go up during construction and others do not? Why do some properties see increases almost annually and others have not changed in a decade?

  2. Pete Johnson

    Then don’t vote for Al Bruno, JR. He’s a rubber-stamp for the Assessor and signs off on his ludicrous assessments.

    1. JR

      That would be the next change. The board of assessment review needs to be replaced. The ones that can even stay awake for the grievance night just side with the assessor.

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