The new Montgomery County government charter set to take effect Jan. 1 shook the primary election season up a bit this year, according to Democratic county Board of Elections Commissioner Jamie Duchessi,
The board of 15 town and city ward supervisors currently operating at both the town and county level will be replaced by a nine-member county legislature with a county executive to run the county on a day-to-day basis. The 10 town supervisors will be responsible just for their towns.
“There are just more positions now,” Duchessi said, “and politicians have to choose whether to go with the town or county level.”
At the county level, the field narrowed from 15 seats to nine. That pitted Thomas Quackenbush, the current Minden town supervisor, against current Palatine Town Supervisor Brian Sweet in a race to represent the county’s newly formed 2nd District.
During Tuesday’s primary, they’ll compete for both the Conservative and Republican party lines. Quackenbush will also be on the Democratic line on the November ballot.
The five county supervisors currently representing city wards in Amsterdam were eliminated in the new government, leaving current city ward supervisors to compete for seats in the new legislature or on the Common Council.
Democrat Jeff Stark and Republican Barbara Wheeler, supervisors representing the city’s 2nd and 4th wards, respectively, will be running in November in the new 7th Legislative District. Wheeler also will be vying for the Conservative Party line in next week’s primary.
Third Ward Supervisor Ron Barone opted to stay at the city level, running for 3rd Ward alderman. He’s set to compete for the Republican Party line against Anthony Leggiero in next week’s primary.
There’s also the issue of the county executive, a new opportunity for local politicians. Matt Ossenfort, director of Montgomery County Habitat for Humanity and chief of staff for former Assemblyman George Amedore, will be running against current St. Johnsville town Supervisor Dominick Stagliano, a Democrat, in November.
Ossenfort will appear as on the Republican and Independence party lines on the November ballot. He’ll run in next week’s primary for the Conservative line as well.
Duchessi said there are usually quite a number of primaries in the county, but they look different this time around.
“There are different positions,” he said, “and different people vying for them.”
There are a number of other primaries across the county Tuesday:
• Canajoharie highway superintendent: David Hodge vs. James Homkey for the Republican line.
• Charleston highway superintendent: Merrill Wojcik is competing against John Gross and Robert D. Rhinehardt for the Democratic and Conservative party lines, respectively.
• Florida town clerk: Kathryn Hermance vs. Kim LaMont for the Republican line.
• Minden highway superintendent: Scott Crewell vs. Ronald Douglas for the Republican line.
• Minden Town Board: James Earing, Thomas Yager, Joan Eckler and Bryan Hayes all seek to run as Republicans for the two seats up for election.
• Mohawk town supervisor: Edward Bishop vs. James Hoffman for the Republican line.
• Mohawk highway superintendent: William Holvig vs. Ronald Hinkle for the Republican line.
• St. Johnsville Town Board: Ronald Millington, Ronald Hezel and Susan Handy all seek to run as Republicans for the two seats up for election.