BALLSTON SPA — An incumbent village trustee and a “smart growth” advocate who ran with him as the “A Better BSpa” party were elected to the Village Board Tuesday in a five-way contest for two seats on the board.
Unofficial results from the contested election gave incumbent Trustee Shawn Raymond 359 votes, just ahead of his running mate, Ben Baskin, who received 336 votes.
Not far behind was Mary Price-Bush with 329 votes, followed by Sean Mulvaney with 243 votes, and Robert Bush Jr., with 226 votes, according to the figures provided by Mayor Larry Woolbright.
In addition to in-person voting at the village’s two fire stations, there were 149 absentee ballots cast.
This was the village’s first attempt to hold a “non-partisan” election, one in which neither the Republican nor Democratic parties made endorsements, in an effort to keep larger political issues out of the local race. But the election was nevertheless hotly contested.
With incumbent Noah Shaw not seeking re-election to a second-term, fellow incumbent Raymond, who ran with Shaw as a Democrat in 2017, was running as a team with Baskin on the “A Better BSpa” ballot line. Baskin is best known locally as a “smart growth” advocate, one of the leaders of the citizens group that defeated plans for a Walmart in the town of Ballston. He is currently a member of the town of Ballston Planning Board and the Ballston Clean Energy Committee, but this was his first bid for elected office.
The other three candidates — Bush Jr., Mulvaney, and Price-Bush (unrelated to Robert Bush) — were unofficially running together, campaigning in part on their longtime ties to the village. Bush and Mulvaney are both lifelong residents and volunteer firefighters, while Price-Bush is a 30-year resident, and is the wife of Police Chief Dave Bush.
Raymond is a civil engineer. During the candidate forum, he said a critical priority for the village needs to be an inventory of the condition of its aging water, sewer and building infrastructure as it’s essential to securing grants to pay for improvements.
Baskin is a non-profit and public health professional with a background in senior services. He has also served as president and treasurer of the Ballston Area Community Center.
Baskin said he wants to support “smart growth” policies that play up the village’s character and uniqueness, and noted that the commitment of trustees is critical as the village prepares to update its comprehensive land use and zoning plan in the next year or two.
The newly elected trustees will take office on June 1, serving with Woolbright, who is a Republican, and board members Liz Kormos and Christine Fitzpatrick, elected in 2019 as Democrats.
Incumbent Village Justice Michael Morrissey, who was running without opposition, received 580 votes.