Republicans mount write-in bid for third-party nomination
Two city Republicans are mounting write-in candidacies for the Independence Party nomination.
Mayoral hopeful Shauna Sutton and Accounts Commissioner hopeful John Arpei are trying to wrestle the nominations of the Independence Party away from Democrats Joanne Yepsen and John Franck, respectively, who were endorsed by the party this spring. Because none of the candidates are enrolled in the Independence Party, they all sought a waiver to appear on the line, but it was only granted to Yepsen and Franck, who is an incumbent and had the backing of the Independence Party in 2011.
In order to force their way on to the ballot, Sutton and Arpei filed Opportunity to Ballot petitions earlier this month, which will allow Independence Party voters to choose their candidates in the Sept. 10 primary.
The catch is that only Yepsen’s and Franck’s names will appear on the primary ballot and there will be a blank space where voters can write in the name of another candidate.
Moving forward, Saratoga County Independence Party Chairman Ed Miller said the party would rally behind Yepsen and Franck to ensure their hold on the party’s nomination. “The reason why we will protect our candidates is we feel they are by far the best candidates to represent Saratoga Springs,” Miller said.
Sutton said she will be actively targeting Independence Party voters to remind them their will be a primary.
The Independence Party has mounted a legal challenge to the Sutton and Arpei petitions and has until Monday to file specific challenges. Sutton is confident the signatures she collected will withstand legal scrutiny. “I did my homework with those names,” she said.
Regardless of the fight for the Independence line, Yepsen and Franck will likely appear on the Democratic and Working Families lines in the general election and Sutton and Arpei will appear on the Republican and Conservative Party lines.
In 2011, Mayor Scott Johnson won reelection by about 300 votes and received 279 votes on the Independence Party line. Sutton argued that the line is important in a general election because independent and Independence Party voters identify it as a legitimate third-party option.
There are currently about 20,000 registered voters in Saratoga Springs and 1,300 registered with the Independence Party.
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