Voters head to polls today for primary elections
CAPITAL REGION The faithful of New York’s political parties — the kind of committed people who turn out to vote in intra-party contests — will have their say today.
Today is Primary Day statewide, and hundreds of polling places across the Capital Region will be open from noon to 9 p.m. for party members to make decisions about whom their organizations will run for elected office in November.
Some of the highest-profile races include the Republican contest for Saratoga County sheriff, the Democratic nomination for mayor in Albany and Republican mayoral races in Gloversville and Johnstown.
Also on the ballot are races for Schenectady County Family Court judge and Republican contests for town supervisor in Malta, Duanesburg, Mohawk, Broadalbin and Oppenheim.
In many instances, heavily Republican or Democratic voter enrollments in a particular jurisdiction mean whoever wins after today will be the prohibitive favorite in the Nov. 5 election — or may have no further opposition at all.
In Saratoga County, Republicans Jeff Gildersleeve and Michael Zurlo are both vying to replace Sheriff James D. Bowen, a Republican who is retiring after more than four decades in office. Given the county’s Republican orientation, the primary winner will be the favorite in November’s general election.
Zurlo, who spent more than 30 years with the Sheriff’s Department, has the backing of Bowen and much of the Republican establishment, while Gildersleeve, a retired state police investigator, has focused his campaign on his opposition to the state SAFE Act, the controversial gun-control measure rushed into law in January after the Newtown school massacre.
In Fulton County, the voting includes three-way Republican primaries for mayor in Gloversville and Johnstown.
In Gloversville, incumbent Mayor Dayton King is squaring off with endorsed Republican Michael Ponticello and James E. Handy.
In Johnstown, where there is no incumbent seeking re-election, Scott Jeffers, Helen Martin and Larry Razzano want the GOP’s mayoral nomination to go against Democrat Michael Julius.
In Albany, Mayor Jerry Jennings is retiring after five terms, and city Treasurer Kathy Sheehan and former Albany Common Council member Corey Ellis are competing for the Democratic nomination, with the winner almost certain to become the capital city’s next mayor.
For an open Schenectady County Family Court judgeship, Jill Polk, a senior attorney for the state Commission on Judicial Conduct, and Kevin Burke, the chief prosecutor of abuse and neglect cases for the county Department of Social Services, are competing in a Democratic primary.
Elsewhere, there are races for positions like town councilman, town justice or town highway superintendent in various communities throughout the region.
In addition to the Republican and Democratic primaries, there are also some primaries for local Conservative, Independence and Working Families party nominations. Many of those involve people who are also competing for the major-party lines.