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Ex-supervisor Maura challenges Joyce for Princetown post

Races on tap for board, clerk, judge

Sunday, July 21, 2013
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— Nicholas Maura Jr. is taking yet another stab at the supervisor’s seat after bouncing between town offices for roughly a decade.

The former supervisor and current Planning Board member will head the Democratic ticket this fall, and he’s not the only familiar name endorsed by the party.

Eric Plura, the former deputy supervisor under Maura and a registered Republican, will vie for one of two Town Board seats. He’s being joined on the ticket by Doug Gray, a former Town Board member voted out of office when a slate headed by Republican Supervisor Michael Joyce came to power in 2011.

In a sense, this year’s election is a referendum on the Joyce administration. Or at least whether town voters see it as an improvement from Maura’s short tenure in office between 2007 and 2009.

Maura, the son of longtime Highway Superintendent Nicholas Maura Sr., was first elected to the Town Board in 2004 and was later named as Supervisor Muriel Peterson’s deputy. The deputy’s position was abolished in 2006, but Maura waged a successful campaign to finish the term of Peterson, who died in office in 2007.

Maura was then defeated by Melanie Whiteley during the election in 2009, only to be appointed to the Town Board seat she vacated to run for supervisor. He then lost the seat to first-term board member Louis Esposito during the election in November 2010, but was named to the Planning Board only two weeks after leaving office in 2011.

Joyce will head a Republican ticket that includes incumbent Robert Myers and newcomer Loretta Kuhland. Also joining the GOP ticket are Sandra Fortune, who is running for town clerk, and William Reynolds, who is vying for the lone justice position.

Fortune is challenging incumbent Carol McClaine, who was endorsed by the Democrats and also served on the board when Maura was elected supervisor in 2007. Meanwhile, Reynolds is challenging longtime incumbent Town Justice Michelle Van Woeart, who is also running on the Democratic ticket.

But the ballot won’t be the only place Reynolds is challenging Van Woeart. He’s also the local attorney representing Joyce’s deputy — Town Republican Committee Chairman Norm Miller — in a slander lawsuit he filed against Van Woeart in May.

Miller, who has had an acrimonious relationship with Van Woeart for years, filed a lawsuit against the justice in state Supreme Court over comments she made during the public forum of a Town Board meeting in March. Van Woeart stated that Miller “killed a man,” apparently referencing Miller’s criticism of now-deceased Altamont Fair director Reid Northrup during the late 1990s.

 
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