It’s been 24 hours since the polls closed. The air is filled with good news about the “tsunami” of victories across the country by Democrats, but some on social media are wondering why our performance in Greene County didn’t feel like such a big blue wave.
How did we do? 48 Democratic candidates ran in 74 town races across the county and they won 22. Two or three additional races are so close that we may also win them, once the absentee ballots are counted. At the top of our ticket, Julian Schreibman won that all-important seat on the NYS Supreme Court,. And in Athens, Lee Allen Palmateer won the special election for a seat in the Greene County Legislature that was formerly held by a Republican, narrowing their majority to 8-6.
First, I want to thank all 48 of those candidates, not just for their extraordinary efforts, but for simply stepping up and dedicating 3 months of their lives to meet the voters across our communities. Many of us are transplants from somewhere else… many of us are telecommuters or retirees who turned a weekend home into a permanent residence. Republicans love to point out that we often don’t have the roots that they have in the community’s schools, churches, volunteer fire departments, small businesses and municipal employment. As a result, we have to work harder and smarter to get our message across.
A little history…
Eight years ago, in 2010-2011, Greene County Democrats conducted a weekend-long retreat that brought together long-time “pioneers” and a group of fresh recruits, energized by Obama’s 2008 victory. We ran for spots on the committee, changed its leadership, then created a long-term plan to win in Greene and put it in motion.
We started with the data on Greene County voter enrollment: only 25% were Democrats and more than 50% were Republicans or Conservatives. It was clear that the only way we could win was to run candidates who would not only attract Democrats, but also the 25% who belonged to no party, as well as crossover Republican voters. In 2012, that strategy brought us within one vote of a majority in the County Legislature, but in 2014 we lost ground when Albany passed the SAFE ACT after the shooting in Sandy Hook and gun control became the most powerful “single issue” in upstate NY. But even with the shifting landscape, we continued to build our coalition, raising money, expanding our infrastructure, and recruiting new volunteers and candidates.
Which brings us to…
We won 22 of the 48 races we contested. We won the Supreme Court race. We won the special election for the County Legislature. Does it hurt to lose? Damned straight. But there were very, very few blowouts. That coalition we set out to forge eight years ago has become a reality. And in 2017, for the first time ever, Greene County enrolled more Democratic voters than Republicans.
In towns like New Baltimore, Athens and Catskill, we have new leadership. Strong individuals stepped up to join the committee or become a town chair and all ran competitive or winning races. In Coxsackie, Democratic candidates ran and won unopposed! Town Committees are the heartbeat of our party and every town needs a strong and active town chair with a fully functional committee. If you live in a town where you want to engage and you can’t find a way in, call me, I’ll find a point of contact or we’ll create one. We’ve also formed strong links to several groups operating across towns within Greene such as the Mountain Top Progressives, that will welcome you and actively support our candidates.
In every race we’ve run since 2011, we’ve learned and improved. The results of last year’s election activated many voters in Greene County, some new to the mountain or the valley, some lifelong residents, but all appalled with our current leadership.
Once we have the data from this year’s races, we’ll learn from it, share the lessons with all of you, and start gearing up for 2018. The entire county legislature will be up for election next year. There’ll also be a NYS Senate race, an open race to fill Pete Lopez’ seat in the NYS Assembly and, of course, the race for the 19th Congressional District.
There’s a lot of work to be done in the coming year and the Greene County Democratic Committee welcomes any Democrat who wants to turn Greene blue. We’ll be kicking off 2018 with an event to link interested Democrats with our committee, so stay tuned.
And let me close with another huge thank you to the candidates who ran this year. We are enormously proud of every one of you.
Doreen Parsley Davis
Chairwoman, Greene County Democratic Committee
Supervisor, Town of Catskill
Greene County Democratics Election Results ~
Lee Palmateer – County Legislator 589 / opponent : 566
Michael Pirrone – Town Supervisor 561 / opponent : 578 – 17 votes, absentee determined ***
Martin Miller – Town Council 522 / opponent 1 : 632 – vote for 2
Phyllis Dinkelacker – Town Council 492 / opponent 2 : 555 – vote for 2
David Cole – Town Justice 459 / opponent : 695
David Gabrielsen – Town Council 415 / opponent 1 : 992 – vote for 2
Lewis O’Connor – Town Council 532 / opponent 2 : 902 – vote for 2
Herbert Schwanse – Town Justice 389 / opponent : 1004
Heather Williams – Town Council 1079 / opponent 1 : 1220 – vote for 2
Margaret Tomlinson – Town Council 976 / opponent 2 : 1211 – vote for 2
Thomas Burke – Town Council 928
Patrick Kennedy – Town Council 896
Lawrence Ross – Highway Super 936
Joanne Schindelheim – Town Council 251 / opponents : 68, 156, 296, 391 – vote for 2
Alan White – Town Supervisor 59
Judith DiBenedetto – Town Council 65
Innes Kasanof – Town Council 60
Kenneth Williams – Town Justice 66
Patricia Warfield – Town Clerk 65
Robin White – Tax Collector 63
Russell Bouton – Highway Super 68
Daryl Legg – Town Supervisor 468 / opponent : 454
Anthony Coiro – Town Council 311 / opponent 1 : 669 – vote for 2
Douglas Senterman – Town Council 192 / opponent 2 : 607 – vote for 2
John Farrell – Highway Superintendent 646 / opponent : 276
MarySusan Timpson – Town Justice 344 / opponent : 540
Stephen Bardfield – Town Council 83 / opponent 1 : 105 – vote for 2
James Quakenbush – Town Council 140 / opponent 2 : 144 – vote for 2
John Berger – Town Supervisor 207 / opponent : 118
Michael Barcone – Town Council 222 / opponent 1 : 186 – vote for 2
Garrett Landes – Town Council 123 / opponent 2 : 102 – vote for 2
Allen Cross – Town Justice 84 / opponent : 246
Charlotte Jaeger – Town Clerk 194 / opponent : 138
George Dart – Highway Super 141 / opponent : 185
Jacob Colwell – Town Council 422 / opponent 1 : 568 – vote for 2
James Eckl – Town Council 425 / opponent 2 : 608 – vote for 2
Diane Jordan – Tax Collector 751
Kristin Tompkins – Town Supervisor 203
Jeremy Marsh – Town Council 114 / opponent 1 : 147 – vote for 2
Darcy Jaeger Brand – Town Council 111 / opponent 2 : 122 – vote for 2
David Rikard – Town Justice 172 / opponent : 79
William Sutton – Highway Super 235
Jennifer Traver – Tax Collector 81 / opponent : 170
Kathleen Sherman – Town Clerk 224
Nicholas Bove – Town Supervisor 281 / opponent : 320
Thomas Rowe – Town Council 175 / opponent 1 : 353 – vote for 2
David Weiman – Town Council 232 / opponent 2 : 391 – vote for 2