With Pat Ryan on his way to Washington, three hopefuls have so far declared their candidacies to replace the outgoing county executive. The Ulster County Democratic Committee will nominate a candidate on Saturday, September 17 at 4:40 p.m. in the Common Council chambers of Kingston’s city hall.
Ulster County comptroller March Gallagher, deputy executive Marc Rider and former state senator Jen Metzger have announced their intention to seek the job.
As soon as Ryan is sworn into Congress on September 9, his deputy executive Joanna Contreras will take over as interim county executive, triggering a December special election to choose an executive to serve the duration of Ryan’s term ending Dec. 31, 2023.
Gallagher beat her competitors to the punch, announcing her intention to seek the position before the others could on the morning after Ryan’s special election victory.
Posting on Facebook, Gallagher provided a list of endorsements from a collection of town supervisors, councilmembers and former legislators.
“Since taking office as county comptroller,” said Gallagher in her statement, “I have worked with the county executive and legislature implementing important changes such as automatic Airbnb tax collection, savings at the jail, modernization of the property auction, and daylighting county finances. By shining a light and following the money, we’ve been able to create millions in savings and revenue enhancements for the people of Ulster County.”
Jen Metzger, who currently serves on the New York State Cannabis Control Board and is Policy Director for New Yorkers for Clean Power, announced her bid via Twitter that afternoon, saying in part, “We have all the building blocks in our county to create a sustainable, resilient, people-centered economy that leaves no one behind, but we can only get there if we have the right vision and leadership to build on Pat Ryan’s accomplishments.”
Still later that day, deputy county executive Marc Rider announced his candidacy. “My administration will focus on three priorities next year,” he said. “Affordability, expanding mental-health and addiction services, and fighting for the survival of our planet. I will spend the next month expanding on these priorities and highlighting the successes I have accomplished in my career in Ulster County.”
While Rider’s color scheme is a nostalgic peach-and-green pastel, Metzger and Gallagher have chosen to run on the tried and true red, white and blue.
No Republican candidate has yet announced.
By the time the special election arrives in December, Hudson Valley voters will have already decided Ryan’s future. He is favored by the pundits in his congressional contest against state assemblyperson Colin Schmitt, an Orange County Republican, in the newly drawn 18th Congressional District.