QUEENSBURY — Rachel Seeber may have seized the Conservative Party line from Supervisor John Strough, giving her a boost for the November election.
Write-ins made up 73 percent of the vote, though of course voters could write in any name, so it cannot be presumed that every write-in is a vote for Seeber.
Seeber, who is running for town supervisor and is already on the Republican line, filed petitions to challenge the Conservative Party’s endorsement of Strough. Since she is not a Conservative Party member, her only chance was through a write-in campaign. She had to persuade voters to write in her name, rather than choosing Strough, whose name was printed on the ballot as the party leadership’s choice.
In preliminary results Tuesday night, the primary had 22 votes for Strough and 59 write-ins.
The Warren County Election Commissioners will count the write-ins in the next couple days and announce the detailed results, they said. The final results will be announced after absentee ballots are counted next week.
Voters said they wanted to send a message that the status quo was no longer acceptable.
“Change. Somebody a little more transparent,” said voter Brian Morgan, who filed a write-in rather than choosing Strough.
Others said it came down to trust. Several voters cited the fact that Strough told the Town Board that the town had passed a state audit when it had instead been strongly criticized.
“I trust her more,” said voter Jim Dugan, who chose Seeber. He added that he also expected her to be more fiscally prudent than Strough.
Strough doesn’t “question anything,” he said.
Seeber declared victory in the primary.
“What it tells me is we have the pulse of the community,” she said. “Our Team Seeber effort has really resonated with the people of Queensbury.”
Seeber also passed petitions to force a Women’s Equality Party primary. The six-member party had not endorsed anyone. Three absentee ballots were mailed in and one party member went to the polls to vote, poll workers said.
Yet at the end of the night, poll workers discovered they had no Women’s Equality ballots filed. They had accidentally given the voter a Conservative Party ballot, Seeber said. Both ballots had a write-in option.
“It was an innocent mistake,” Seeber said, adding that the absentees are probably for her, so she will get the line anyway.
“I’m fairly confident of that line,” she said.
Ward 1 Republican primary
Despite the criticism of his fellow Republican councilmen, Councilman Tony Metivier pulled off a win for the Republican line in Tuesday’s primary.
He received 200 votes, in preliminary results. Endorsed Republican and political newcomer Hal Bain received 95 votes, in preliminary results, for the Ward 1 Town Board seat.
Metivier was cross-endorsed by the Democrats after the Republicans decided not to endorse him.
Experience won out, said some voters. Metivier was on the planning board and has been on the Town Board since 2008.
“Hal Bain’s a nice guy, but he has no political experience,” said voter Marylee Gostine. “Sometimes, when they don’t have the experience, they tend to vote with other people because they’re unsure.”
Bain, 72, had never tried for political office before, and an illness kept him from campaigning for part of the summer. He is also an organic farmer and runs a market stand, which keeps him busy. Still, he got support, particularly from those who liked his opposition to the airport expansion.
“We don’t want the airport expansion,” said voter Jackie Hersch. “It’s our money. And after the government money is gone, who’s going to maintain that runway? You and I.”
Metivier was clearly angry with some Republican party officials who tried to keep him from re-election by not endorsing him.
On Monday night, he and Republican Councilman Brian Clements sparred over how Metivier described an important piece of legislation that he wants to get passed.
Clements noted that the legislation was proposed by local environmentalists, not Metivier. (Metivier had also been careful to say he could only take credit for trying to push the legislation through on the board.)
But Clements said his comments were “a little self-serving.”
Metivier snapped back, “If we could get a law passed before you guys boot me out of office, Brian, alright, I’ll call it ‘our’ greatest accomplishment.”