Republicans win big in several Schenectady County towns
SCHENECTADY COUNTY Republicans made gains in all three western Schenectady County towns, landing Town Board majorities in both Princetown and Duanesburg, while picking up a couple seats in Rotterdam.
The election means the town boards in both Princetown and Duanesburg will be all-Republican. And the party also maintained its stronghold in Glenville, where all five Town Board seats are now occupied by GOP members.
The Democrats also lost their supermajority on the Rotterdam Town Board. Though Supervisor Harry Buffardi didn’t have a challenger this year, incumbent Nicola DiLeva and newcomer Kristie Hanson were defeated by Republicans Joe Villano and Richard Larmour, according to preliminary results.
In Duanesburg, Republican Roger Tidball won the supervisor’s race, beating Democrat Jean Frisbee. He will succeed longtime Republican Supervisor Rene Merrihew, who decided not to run for another term after nearly a decade in office.
Tidball will be joined by incumbent Charles Leoni and newcomer Randy Passano to make the board all-Republican. He credited the victory to the dedication all the candidates on his ticket put into the race.
“It was a good team effort from everyone,” he said. “The town’s in good shape fiscally and I want to keep it that way.”
In Princetown, Supervisor Michael Joyce completed a successful bid for a second term by beating Democrat Nicholas Maura Jr. He’ll be joined on the Town Board by incumbent Robert Myers and Loretta Kuhland — both Republicans.
Longtime Princetown Town Justice Michelle Van Woeart was unseated by challenger William Reynolds, a Republican. Van Woeart, who was endorsed by the Democrats and had been at odds with the Joyce Administration, lost by 82 votes, according to preliminary results.
In Rotterdam, longtime Highway Superintendent James Longo was unseated by Larry Lamora. A former Republican, Longo switched his enrollment to Democrat last year.
Though races for supervisor, town clerk and tax collector all went unchallenged to the Democrats, the GOP made inroads on the Town Board. Villano was thrilled by the results, which he credited to a solid effort by the candidates, residential outrage over Buffardi’s 2014 budget and some last-minute help from the state Republican Committe.
“Who’d have thought that a couple weeks ago?” he said.
Glenville Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle was elected to a second term Tuesday in a landslide, beating out newcomer Democrat Cathryn Bern-Smith with more than 68 percent of the vote.
Koetzle, a public relations executive who ran on the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines, served as a Town Board member for two years before being elected supervisor in 2009. Bern-Smith, a policy director for the state Senate, ran on the Democratic and Working Families lines.
Koetzle won 5,206 to Bern-Smith’s 2,391 votes, according to unofficial results posted to the Schenectady County Board of Elections website Tuesday night.
“I first of all want to thank the people of Glenville for allowing me to continue working on their behalf,” said Koetzle late Tuesday night. “This was a tough campaign. I have never had an opponent who has been as negative or nasty or distorted the truth as much as this one. I think the people of Glenville saw through that and were smarter than that. I have always believed the truth wins out.
“I know the voters of Glenville,” he continued. “I never once doubted the voters. That type of campaigning doesn’t work in Glenville and we see the results of it today. I think they know my record and I think that they were happy with my record.”
Glenville’s Town Board will soon get a new face. Newcomer Republican James Martin was elected to one of two open seats on the board with 31.82 percent of the vote, or 4,658 votes. Incumbent Republican Sid Ramotar was re-elected to his seat with 29.46 percent of the vote, or 4,312 votes.
They beat out Democratic newcomers Joseph Rizzo and Ronald Draves, Jr., who won 3,126 votes and 2,531 votes, respectively.
Martin, a senior planner at the Saratoga Springs-based LA Group, will take Town Board member Alan Boulant’s seat. He currently serves as chairman and CEO of the town of Glenville Local Development Corp. and Town of Glenville Small Business and Economic Development Committee.
Ramotar, vice president of KeyBank in Schenectady, has 12 years of small business and economic development experience with the Schenectady Economic Development Corporation.
Highway Superintendent Thomas Coppola was elected to serve a second term with 60.93 percent of the vote, or 4,644 votes. He beat Democrat Richard LeClair, the town’s highway superintendent from 2006 to 2009, for a second time. LeClair received 2,971 votes.
Niskayuna elected Democrat Denise Murphy McGraw to a second term on the Town Board and newcomer Democrat John Della Ratta to fill a second open seat on the board.
McGraw and Della Ratta defeated Republican David Dussault, who received 2,141 votes Tuesday. Della Ratta came out on top with 40.87 percent of the vote, or 3,902 votes, followed by McGraw, who won 36.21 percent of the vote, or 3,457 votes.
Peter Scagnelli was elected Niskayuna’s new town justice with 3,092 votes, or 56.8 percent of the vote. He defeated Michael Horan, who was also running for the seat being vacated by Justice Paul Zonderman. Horan won 2,349 votes.
Two other races were uncontested. Town Supervisor Joe Landry was re-elected for another term with 4,015 votes and Town Receiver of Taxes Diane Percy was re-elected with 4,418 votes.
Scotia voters approved, 773-682, a proposal to amend a portion of the village code that currently gives appointing authority for most village employees and officers to the Board of Trustees. The amendment will change the appointing authority to be in line with what New York state code mandates, making personnel management more efficient throughout the village. This code gives appointing power to the mayor with approval of the trustees.