Independence Party primaries in Saratoga Springs could serve as a preview for the mayoral and accounts commissioner races in the fall.
Republicans Shauna Sutton and John Arpei will be hampered in their bid for the party’s support, as Independence voters will have to write in their names for mayor and accounts commissioner respectively on Tuesday.
That’s because Democrats Joanne Yepsen and John Franck were endorsed for mayor and accounts commissioner, respectively, by the city’s Independence Party Committee.
Saratoga County Independence Party Chairman Ed Miller previously said Yepsen and Franck were endorsed because they are by far the best candidates to represent the city.
Sutton, who has served as deputy mayor for six years, said her write-in candidacy is to give the city’s Independence voters a choice on who will be on their line in November. She said Independence voters should write her name in if they’re happy with the momentum of the city.
“Nothing would skip a beat,” Sutton said, noting her experience in City Hall.
Yepsen seized on this pledge, charging that Sutton would mean more of the unbridled growth experienced under Mayor Scott Johnson, while she would promote long-term smart growth. She said that development under her administration would promote sustainable practices and communities that are friendly to walkers and bikers.
“I’m going to take down the barricades [to the mayor],” Yepsen added, pledging to have an open office that doesn’t cater to just a few of the city’s interests.
The mayor’s race is wide open, as Johnson decided not to seek a fourth term in office.
Regardless of Tuesday’s primary, Yepsen has the Democratic and Working Families lines and Sutton has the Conservative and Republican lines in November.
In 2011, Johnson squeaked to re-election by a margin of roughly 300 votes, including 279 on the Independence Party line.
Arpei said he is a mounting his write-in bid because his late entry into the race prevented him from interviewing for the Independence Party Committee’s endorsement. To spread the word about his candidacy, he has been going door to door and handing out notes.
“I intend to bring a more effective and efficient and cooperative government to the city,” he said.
Franck, who is running for his fifth term and has been endorsed in every election by the Independence Party, countered that he has a proven track record of bipartisan cooperation, which he said appeals to Independence voters. He added that his experience on the City Council, where he is the senior member, is one of his strongest assets.
Arpei said that one of the reasons he got into the race was because of Franck’s attempts to deal with the bedbug and spending issues at the Saratoga Springs Housing Authority. Arpei said that Franck overreacted to the problems, which Franck rejected, saying he helped highlight wasteful spending.
In the general election, Arpei has already secured the Republican and Conservative Party lines and Franck has the Democratic and Working Families line.
Voters can vote in a primary only for the party in which they’re enrolled, which means Saratoga Springs Democratic, Conservative and unaffiliated voters don’t need to go to the polls Tuesday. Working Families voters will be able to write in a candidate’s name for supervisor.