CAPITAL REGION — There are a few certainties as Capital Region voters head to the polls on Tuesday.
A voter will have to live in the Schoharie County town of Sharon if they want to vote for someone on the Hillbilly Highway party line, for one. That towns where all the leaders are from one political party will still find things to fight about, for another.
And, God willing, Gary McCarthy will again be mayor of Schenectady come January.
Other than that, there's a lot of political offices in play on Tuesday. A special section being published in today's paper provides more information on the contested elections in our local communities.
History says that because it's a local election year, voter turnout will be far lower than it is during a presidential election year. That really shouldn't be the case -- good luck getting the president on the phone when your street isn't plowed, or when a snowplow hits your mailbox. In a first-time twist on how elections have historically been run in New York, thousands of voters have taken advantage of the opportunity to cast early ballots; Sunday, however, is the the last day for early voting.
In Schenectady, McCarthy is assured of winning a third four-year term, since has no opposition after defeating Thearse McCalmon last January in a Democratic primary. But with four City Council seats at stake, and the council made up almost entirely of Democrats who either express fealty to McCarthy or don't, we still may learn something about his political standing.
City voters could re-elect all the incumbents. Democrats Edward Kosiur, Leesa Perazzo, John Polimeni and independent Vince Riggi could all be returned to the council. Or voters could choose Democrat Carel Patrick or Republicans Rima Cerone and Brendan McNally.
The Schenectady County Board of Elections announced Friday that voters in city Election District 2 will still voted at St. George’s Episcopal Church, 30 N. Ferry St., despite road construction being done in the area.
Also being closely watched is the town of Niskayuna, the only town in Schenectady County where the office of town supervisor is being contested.
Republican Yasmine Syed, who two years ago ousted Joe Landry—also the county Democratic chairman—from his town leadership post, is running for re-election, despite the stresses of having worked for the last two years with a frequently antagonistic Democratic town board. Syed is being challenged by Lisa Weber, one of the Town Board's Democrats. Two Town Board seats and even town clerk are also being contested in the county's wealthiest suburb.
With the Glenville Town Board split between three Republicans and two Democrats, two seats now held by Republicans are being contested, which means it's possible Democrats to take effective control of the board, in a suburb that has been solidly Republican for decades.
In Saratoga Springs, meanwhile, voters could change four of the five city council seats, if they were of a mind to. Four seats are held by Democrats, but the city's Democratic party is fractured. Mayor Meg Kelly is being challenged by Republican Timothy Holmes; Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan is looking to win the general election from three smaller-party lines after narrowly losing a Democratic primary to Patricia Morrison; and either Republican Robin Dalton or Democrat Kendall Hicks will be elected commissioner of public safety, after a campaign in which many Democrats refused to support Hicks because of old domestic violence allegations.
In Amsterdam, residents will be deciding whether they want Republican Michael Villa to continue as mayor, as he faces a challenge from Democrat Michael Cinquanti, and several City Council seats are also being contested.
Regardless of where voters live, local polling places will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. In Saratoga and Schenectady counties, they will be using electronic poll books for the first time to sign their names before being issued a paper ballot.
- Here are all the contested elections coming up in local counties
- On the campaign trail with Schenectady candidates, quality-of-life issues dominate
- Foss: Local elections draw few voters
- In race for Schenectady City Council, Democratic unity belies more complicated tensions
- New ideas vs. experience in Schenectady County legislature race
- Schenectady County has multiple contests
- Deficit key issue in Amsterdam mayoral race
- Saratoga Springs elections are highly contested
- Three supervisor seat contests in Saratoga County
- Syed, Weber square off in race for Niskayuna supervisor
- Six seek state Supreme Court seats
- Our endorsements for Election Day 2019