So which “new Kingston” candidate has the advantage, first-term Democrat Clement with a two-to-one edge in enrollment or first-term Republican Turco?
Turco might not have been fully aware of just how tough her primary against Ron Pollaco and Rich Cahill was going to be, but she knows for sure she’s up against it in November. “We’re going to have to work our ass off!” she declared to supporters who had spent a long night worrying that their candidate might not make it.
It’s not over until they count those absentee ballots. There, Clement’s unofficial six-vote margin over Gallo gives him only the slightest advantage. Turco’s 21-vote lead over Ron Pollaco is only marginally more comfortable. Did somebody say something about every vote counting?
Yet to be played are wild-card minor-party lines: Gallo’s Independence nomination and Cahill’s Conservative one. Assuming primary-night results hold up, these two major party losers might still have something to say.
Give Gallo credit for running the best primary campaign. Crushed by Clement at the Democratic convention, with the party apparatus working for the nominee, and cash-starved — rumor had it those “Gallo for Mayor” lawn signs were leftovers from late brother T.R. Gallo’s three mayoral campaigns — Gallo made a race that had Clement chewing his nails.
And it’s not over, officially.
Divide and conquer
Susan Zimet, the Democratic candidate for supervisor in New Paltz, won the Republican nomination at a GOP caucus last week by one vote. A key to Zimet’s victory was the support of former county Republican chairman Pete Savago, who seconded her nomination. Go figure.
The cross-endorsement was by no mean unprecedented. Toni Hokanson, the incumbent Democrat Zimet trounced at caucus two weeks previous, was endorsed by Republicans for a third term in 2009. But this year, things were different. With Hokanson on their ticket, Republicans believed they had a chance to elect a supervisor or — better in the eyes of some — to run the Zimet steamroller off the road. A Hokanson-Zimet contest in November might have been a tossup.
Still seething that the “hideous dark side” had delivered archenemy Zimet to his ticket, town GOP chairman Butch Dener admits to at least a tactical error on caucus night. Zimet defeated local attorney Peter Cordavano by a single vote, 28-27, with Hokanson coming in with just 15. In three-way races when one candidate fails to achieve a majority — Zimet got 40 percent of votes cast — the usual procedure is for the third person to drop out with another vote taken between the two survivors. Dener, caught in the “shock” of Zimet’s nomination, said he didn’t think of that.
Would Zimet have beaten Cordavano in the runoff? We’ll never know. Would Cordavano have beaten Zimet in the November elections, in a town with an overwhelmingly Democratic enrollment? Probably not.
As a footnote, Dener emphatically denies that the GOP plan going in was to nominate a stalking horse (Cordavano?) who would in a day or two upon reflection decline the nomination, thereby allowing a town committee on vacancies to name Hokanson, the only viable candidate, as the party choice.
“You must be talking to a lot of liars if you’re hearing that,” Dener said.
In my job, it’s an occupational hazard.
As for Savago, his alliance with Zimet is nothing new. This odd couple has teamed up on many a town issue over the years. Delivering her the Republican nomination was for GOP diehards a bit much, however.
Push may finally be coming to shove over the county legislature’s overly studied and too-long-delayed decision about the future of the county infirmary at Golden Hill. A self-interested Kingston delegation of legislators, led by minority leader Jeanette Provenzano, is pushing for a vote on continued county control at next week’s regular meeting. Provenzano says she has 16 votes. She needs 17, which would send the resolution to an uncertain fate in the county exec’s office.
Study committee chairman Walter Frey of Saugerties pushed back by vowing his committee will “make a recommendation” by the October 18 meeting of the legislature. The committee voted 5-2 this week against Provenzano’s resolution that the county retains control of the facility. Frey counters that a vote in September without financial impacts yet firmly established would be premature.
But not October?
And what effect will Frey’s trouncing in the Republican primary for legislature against pro-Golden Hill Bob Aiello have on the chairman’s mindset?
Here and there
Jo-Jo the dog, erstwhile “candidate” for Woodstock town supervisor, was banned from last week’s Democratic Party-sponsored meet-the-candidates night. Jo-Jo is not a registered Democrat, and only Democrats were allowed to speak. No problem, sniffed the hound’s handlers. The ever-articulate Jo-Jo will continue to bombard local publications with letters to the editor.
Outgoing legislature chairman Fred Wadnola stepped to the mike at town of Ulster 9/11 services on the river on Sunday only to be interrupted by a lone, loud “Aflac!” cry, a duck on the water suggesting that lame ducks may have something in common. It was perhaps the only light moment in a somber ceremony.
County Republicans have moved their annual dinner, scheduled for September 27 at 6:30, from Honors Rest in Wawarsing to Hillside Manor in Kingston. Long Island congressman Peter King, the guest speaker, will preach to the choir. But can he fill 280 seats at $95 a pop?
Democrats will hold their annual dinner at Hillside Manor on Sept. 27 at 6:30. Dems don’t have a prominent congressman for speaker, but their guest of honor, county executive Mike Hein, might be one some day. Tix are $60. ++
Hugh Reynolds’ column appears weekly.