I was lucky enough to avoid having to cover the Queensbury supervisor or Town Board races, and dealt with a friendly and civil campaign for Queensbury supervisor at-large this fall.
But as a resident of this town for decades, I was very interested to see how the various town races turned out, and there were a number of surprises.
I thought the race between John Strough and Rachel Seeber would be close, potentially coming down to absentee ballots.
(To his credit, former supervisor at-large Nick Caimano, one of a number of Republicans who openly crossed party lines to support the Democrat Strough, was the only person I spoke with who predicted a Strough blowout.)
Queensbury is a majority Republican, but the questionable electioneering around former Councilman Doug Irish's situation and what was done to Councilman Tony Metivier clearly angered a lot of people.
The fact that four of five Town Board seats will be held by Democrats next year would have been unfathomable as recently as 5 years ago, but Irish's decision to "dare" a critic to FOIL his town emails turned out to be a major blunder that likely turned the tide, from what I saw.
Others also seemed to forget just how involved Strough has been in the community over the years, and the longstanding support that brings. From a teacher with decades in Queensbury schools to involvement with more events and organizations I can count, the guy has seemingly been everywhere over the years. Those connections count, and it was an advantage over Seeber, whose career as a crime victims advocate did not give her that experience.
I think a years-long fracture in the town's Republicans over the handling of the former county Administrator Paul Dusek situation also lingered. Seeber and her campaign adviser Mark Westcott were major players in that saga. And remember, Dusek is Assemblyman Dan Stec's uncle, and the absence of Stec from Seeber campaign events and literature was noticeable to me.
But that situation didn't seem to effect supervisor at-large Doug Beaty, a big Dusek critic, who was the leading vote-getter among supervisor at-large candidates. Go figure.
Seeber's campaign advisor, Mark Westcott, sent out an email this morning with his take on the things. Westcott has spent decades in marketing and campaigns, and is an astute observer. His email is below.
-- Don Lehman
Mark Westcott -- It certainly was an interesting election day. Here is my takeaway.
John Strough is popular: There is no doubt Mr. Strough is popular especially among seniors who turned out in high numbers. He also received strong Republican support from voters who were turned off by the Republican bumbling of the Hal Bain Ward 1 race, which became the main issue in the Queensbury Supervisor election.
Rachel Seeber campaign derailed: Rachel’s message of tax cuts, getting the town fund balance in line with town policy, opposition to the airport expansion and open honest government resonated with voters in the conservative primary where she won 2 to 1, but her message got derailed in the general election where the Republican email story became the central issue.
Other Republican fall out: Queensbury voters also took it out on Republican Councilmen Brian Clements and Tim Brewer who lost by almost identical margins as Ms. Seeber.
New members of the Queensbury Board: Good luck to Jen Switzer (D), George Ferone (R) and Catherine Atherden (D) who become the new members of the board. John Strough now has a solid Democrat majority on the Queensbury Town Board.
Beaty wins big: The big winner yesterday was Doug Beaty who got more votes in a competitive race than anyone in Queensbury including John Strough. Beaty received 4,680 votes versus Strough’s 4,049 ... and Beaty ran in a race with four other candidates. He is the non-politician politician. Tells it like it is. He is the most independent politician in Warren County.
Republicans sweep Queensbury Supervisor at Large seats: Voters separated out the race for seats on the Warren County Board from the Queensbury town race. Republican new comers Brad MaGowan and Mike Wild join incumbents Doug Beaty and Matt Sokol on the Warren County Board of Supervisors.
Newspaper coverage: The Post Star still has teeth. The 8 Republican emails, which most people never even read, became the story of the 2017 Queensbury Town Race. People bought into The Post Star’s accusations the Republican were “scheming.” Editor Ken Tingley said his opinion was they were "perpetrating election fraud." The story took on a life of its own. Queensbury Republicans lost big as a result.
Audit, What Audit? It is a big deal to hide, lie and withhold important information like a critical audit. Then under these circumstances cut a back room deal without public knowledge or input on $1.5 million of local Queensbury match that ended up going primarily into a Village of Lake George project West Brook. It didn’t matter. The newspapers didn’t cover it and people did not seem to care.
Glens Falls Mayor: Dan Hall was elected mayor of Glens Falls. No surprise there. Dan is a good guy and will do a good job. He comes into the job with years of experience on the City Council. I wish him well.
Other Races: There were a number of other interesting races in Warren County and of course a number of races where incumbents ran unopposed. For election results in other Warren County races, go to http://www.warrencountyny.gov/boe/election/2017/g_results.php