Wawarsing Face-Off & Reform Party's Rise...
REGIONAL – For the relatively tiny group of voters who will actually vote in next Tuesday's primary elections in Ulster County, there will be few choices between candidates... unless one considers the OTB one that allows any name to be written in for the Opportunity to Ballot option. And the fact that one new party has forced itself to be considered in an OTB scheme county-wide, forcing primary ballots to be made available to voters in all county voting districts.
The Reform Party (New York) is small, with only 11 registered members in Ulster County. But it's gained new power following a series of recent lawsuits that saw its leadership shift to Curtis Sliwa of Guardian Angels fame.
The Reform Party (New York) was once a splinter group of the National Reform Party founded by Ross Perot for the 1996 election. That group withered to irrelevance until 2014, when Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino filed petitions for a third ballot line listed as "Stop Common Core," received more than 50,000 votes on that line, and then maneuvered to have the line renamed and reformed as an official political party: the Reform Party (New York).
As a state recognized party, the new party began to affect elections in 2015, where it became a means of grouping anti-Hasidim voting in Rockland County. However, the party remains tiny in actual registered numbers. By the summer of 2016 it had recruited 373 members statewide.
On September 12, however, the only countywide primary will be for a Reform Party (New York) candidate for Ulster County Comptroller. That post is currently held by Democrat Elliott Auerbach, who will be one of the names on the ballot. The other will be OTB, which we've heard Wawarsing resident Mike Wendel is seeking to utilize as a write-in candidate ever since he got tossed from the county's Conservative Party line for failing to notify them that he's legally not allowed in the same room as Auerbach due to a harassment lawsuit he was found guilty of, and is on probation for.
In other local races...
In Wawarsing, there will be a legislative battle for District 15 between Rev. Julius Collins and John Gavaris for the Democratic line in November's election; Collins preaches at the Ebeneezer Baptist Church in Ellenville and sits on several boards including Ellenvile Central School District, while Gavaris is director of support services at Ellenville Regional Hospital and a former Wawarsing town board member. Also on the primary ballot in District 15 is Cassie Spoor, who is running for the Conservative and Independence party lines against the OTB write-in option.
Other contests in Wawarsing feature Republicans Paul McAndrews and Eric Friedman vying for the Independence line for town council against an OTB option, the same for GOP town supervisor candidate Terrie Houck, plus all OTB slots for the town's Green and Reform party lines come November.
The ballot for county legislator for District 14, (which includes part of Wawarsing and Shawangunk) shows current incumbent Republican Craig Lopez running for the Independence Party line against OTB, and all-OTB choices for the Green and Reform party lines.
The Village of Ellenville has a single primary, beyond the county one, with two OTB lines for the Independence Party choice come November.
In Rochester, the ballot will show an OTB write-in primary for the Green party candidate for town supervisor, as well as a primary for the superintendent of highways position, on the Independence party line between incumbent Tony Spano and Karl Baker.
In Marbletown, there is a Democratic line for county legislature (District 18) primary between Douglas Adams and Richard Parete, the Republican incumbent who is also running for town supervisor as a Democrat), as well as Adams versus an OTB write-in option on the Working Families line.
Meanwhile, in the Sullivan County town of Mamakating, Kathy Caraccio where a new ward system for electing town board members gets inaugurated this election cycle, there will be a Democratic primary in Ward 3, the Summitville/Phillipsport area, where two incumbents — Christine Saward and Janet Lybolt — will face each other.