Election contests shape up


Recorder News Staff

FONDA -- Two pairs of sitting Montgomery County supervisors will square off this fall in races for the new county legislature.

Six of nine positions on the legislature have anticipated contested elections. That includes two separate races featuring sitting Amsterdam town councilmen, and one race that pits an Amsterdam supervisor against a city alderman.

Nominating petitions, which were due last week, indicate Minden Supervisor Thomas Quackenbush and Palatine Supervisor Brian Sweet will compete in September's Republican and Conservative primaries for Legislative District No. 2.

Quackenbush will also appear on the ballot as a Democrat.

Under the new form of government set to take effect Jan. 1, 2014, supervisors will still be elected for the county's 10 towns, and those supervisors' roles will continue at the town level. But they will no longer serve the county's government as they have historically.

Instead, nine legislators will be elected from nine districts across the county to serve county government. The city will continue to elect its mayor and Common Council, but instead of electing supervisors to represent them at the county level, city residents will also elect legislators from the aforementioned districts.

According to petitions filed at the county Board of Elections, some supervisors, like Glen Supervisor Lawrence Coddington and Amsterdam Supervisor Thomas DiMezza, are seeking re-election as supervisor.

But Quackenbush said he decided to run for legislator instead of supervisor because he wants to see a seamless transition for the new government.

"Some folks currently on the board are not running for the new legislature, but I believe even with a new form of government, you have to have an understanding how the county works," he said. "By having some legislators with experience, mixed with a few new folks on the board, I think that's a good thing, but I feel deeply that a few people with experience as supervisors are needed."

Quackenbush said he currently has a good working relationship with Sweet, and doesn't anticipate any problems in conducting the county's business the rest of the year as a result of campaigning.

"We have a good relationship, we just want the same position. But, we have to go through the political process, and the people will speak and choose who they want to represent them," Quackenbush said.

Sweet didn't return a call seeking comment Monday.

That race is the only primary election for the legislature.

Amsterdam 4th Ward Supervisor Barbara Wheeler and 2nd Ward Supervisor Jeffrey Stark will face one another in the general election for Legislative District No. 7.

Both previously announced their intentions to run for the seats.

Like Quackenbush, both Stark and Wheeler say their campaigning won't impede their ability to work with one another to conduct the county's business.

"I have no concerns whatsoever," said Stark. "I believe the people will pick the better person to serve their interests, and it's all part of politics."

"It won't be a problem for me," said Wheeler. "Serving the people is my number one priority, and will always be my focus."

Amsterdam 1st Ward Supervisor Vito "Butch" Greco is seeking election to the new legislature as well. Greco, a Republican, wants to represent District No. 8, but he'll have to beat Amsterdam 1st Ward Alderman Joseph Isabel, who's trying to make the switch from city government to the new county legislature.

The other sitting supervisor currently seeking election to the new legislature is Root Supervisor John Thayer, who will face Roy Dimond in the general election for District No. 3.

Former Amsterdam Mayor John M. Duchessi is currently running unopposed for District No. 6. Fultonville Historian Ryan B. Weitz is also running unopposed for District No. 4, as is Montgomery County Farm Bureau President Martin Kelly for District No. 1.

Two Amsterdam town councilmen are seeking election as legislators in separate districts -- Councilman Terry A. Bieniek will face Daniel P. Wilson in the race for District No. 5, and Councilman Alex S. Kuchis will face Robert A. Purtell in the race for District No. 9.

Though they reside in the same town, Bieniek and Kuchis were able to seek election to separate legislative districts because of how the district map was crafted.

To view the map, visit the county's website at co.montgomery.ny.us.