FULTON COUNTY — The Fulton County Democratic Committee has announced its endorsement of all 16 of the Democrats running for office in the county, including for the first time incumbent Gloversville Mayor Vince DeSantis and Johnstown mayoral candidate Michael Rose.
The move to endorse all of its local candidates for the 2021 elections stands in contrast to the committee’s choice not to endorse DeSantis or former Gloversville Councilman-at-large Steve Smith during the special election in 2019.
“[Sixteen] local Democrats running for office this November have received the unanimous support of the Fulton County Democratic Committee,” reads a news release statement attributed to Fulton County Democratic Chairman Ed Jasewicz.
However, Gloversville City Democratic Committee Chairwoman Robin Wentworth, a member of the county Democratic Committee, said she never voted to endorse DeSantis or anyone else on the party’s ticket.
“I did not participate in any endorsement of any candidates and am not aware of any such vote,” Wentworth said Monday.
The Committee took its action at its April 8 meeting, which was conducted via the video conferencing program Zoom.
Gloversville 5th Ward Supervisor Greg Young, a member of the county Democratic Committee, said it has been the practice of the Fulton County Democrats to wait until after the primary election to decide on endorsements, but since none of the 16 local candidates will face a primary challenger the committee decided to endorse the candidates now. He believed Wentworth had been “in and out” of the Zoom meeting, and he, along with other members of the committee had believed she was a part of a “consensus” decision to endorse all of the candidates, including DeSantis, a former Republican.
“Evidently not,” Young said.
Wentworth, responding to questions via a social media messaging system, said she “was not able to stay on the Zoom meeting last week,” which was why she didn’t vote on the endorsements. Wentworth would not respond when asked if she does endorse DeSantis.
The Fulton County city and county Democratic Party endorsements have been unusual in Gloversville over the past several elections.
Despite being the city Democratic Committee chairwoman, Wentworth in 2017 endorsed the Republican candidate William Rowback Jr. in his first campaign against then incumbent mayor Dayton King. Rowback is running for mayor again this year against DeSantis.
Wentworth recently defended Rowback after the release of the city Common Council’s investigative committee probe of allegations that Rowback had created a hostile work environment among some city employees, including Department of Public Works Director Chris Perry. The committee issued its report April 7, which concluded Rowback had exceeded his authority in threatening to fire city employees, exposed the city to potential lawsuits and was “untruthful” to the committee when giving testimony under oath. Rowback, under oath, disputed the allegations.
“If Rowback in fact made others feel uncomfortable and the council agreed with that, then a private discussion should have taken place between council members and Rowback, not a public inquiry/investigation,” Wentworth said in a social media post. “This whole thing was nothing more than an attempt to discredit and embarrass another candidate.”
oung said he believes the county Democrats are more unified for 2021 than they were in 2019.
“There is a growing consensus in the two cities, and the towns as well, that we are going to present an alternative for the future from what we’ve seen from the Republican status quo,” he said.
The other candidates endorsed by the Fulton County Democratic Committee include: City and town council candidates Max Spritzer of Johnstown, Marcia Weiss and Betsy Batchelor of Gloversville, Roberta Ricciardi of Mayfield, Dennis Gray of Oppenheim, Timothy Korona of Perth, and David Marshall and Allicia Rice of Stratford; town and city supervisor candidates Heather VanDenburgh of Stratford and Marie Born, Frank Laurie and Greg Young of Gloversville; and Thomas Suydam of Johnstown for city treasurer and David Dopp of Perth for highway superintendent.