Duanesburg’s Republican Party has to resolve an identity crisis based on nominating petitions filed with the Schenectady County Board of Elections.
Republican primaries are likely this September for Duanesburg’s supervisor post, two Town Board seats and spots on the party committee. There are establishment-backed candidates, many of whom are endorsed by the Duanesburg Republican Club, and there are insurgent candidates outside the mainstream of the party.
Schenectady County Democratic Committee Chairman Brian Quail said the contests between the Republicans this fall in Duanesburg will be fun to watch, adding, “They should sell popcorn. … It’s shaping up to be a very interesting contest.”
Schenectady County Republican Committee Chairman Jim Buhrmaster framed the issue differently, saying the potential primaries stemmed from different ideas about how to move the town forward. “They’ve got a perfect right to do it,” he said of the challenges.
The party’s endorsed candidates include Roger Tidball for town supervisor and Charles Leoni and Randy Passonno for the two Town Board spots. “We stand behind the candidates we carried petitions for,” Buhrmaster said, speculating that the party committee will actively be involved during the primary season on behalf of its candidates.
The challenges for the Republican nominations comes from William Park for town supervisor Daniel Houlihan and Laurie Meyer for the Town Board.
Duanesburg Republican Club President Barbara Watt did not return a voice mail for comment on Friday.
In Duanesburg the Democrats are fielding Jean Frisbee for supervisor and John Peters for the Town Board, coming up without a second Town Board candidate.
Looking at the entire field of Republican candidates in the field, Buhrmaster said, “You could always be happier, but I feel good about it.”
He highlighted the fact that Republicans submitted petitions to run in seven of possible eight seats on the County Legislature, with all eight seats currently held by candidates that caucus with the Democrats. A win in any of those races by a Republican would help shrink the large Democratic hold on the legislature.
For his part, Quail said he felt good about his party’s chances to hold on to all eight seats. “The Republican slate is fairly reactionary and fairly extreme,” he said.
This year will not see contested general elections for sheriff or district attorney, with both incumbents running unopposed. Buhrmaster said he was happy with Sheriff Dominic Dagostino, who is registered with the Conservative party, and District Attorney Robert Carney.
Republicans also failed to nominate candidates against incumbent Democratic supervisors in Niskayuna and Rotterdam. Quail said the lack of challenges in some cases showed that people are satisfied with their current leaders and also reflected demographic changes in the county.
Democrats will likely have a primary for the sole Family Court Judge position that is up this year, with party-backed Kevin Burke running against Jill Polk. The winner will not have a Republican candidate.
A full list of petitions and candidates is available on the Schenectady County Board of Elections website.