Voters, rejoice. For the first time in more than a decade, some races in the region are finally competitive.
Election Day still has more unchallenged candidates than not, but there will be some new choices on Tuesday. Polls will be open throughout the region from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Three Washington County supervisor races are competitive for the first time in a decade. Two Glens Falls positions are competitive for the first time since 2005, and in Johnsburg, every single seat is competitive for the first time in recent memory. Even the highway superintendent and town clerk are being challenged there — positions that rarely have competition.
“We’ve never really had all of our races contested at the same time,” said Republican Peter Olesheski, a Johnsburg Town Board member who is running for supervisor.
Many of the new candidates are running for the first time, also. Queensbury candidate Catherine Atherden was one of several who said the presidential election was a motivating factor.
“The 2016 election energized me,” said Atherden, a Democrat. “It confirmed my theory: change really does come from the ground up.”
In Salem, another Democrat emerged to replace the “placeholder” candidate offered by the Democrats just to raise issues in a lost cause against Republican supervisor candidate Bruce Ferguson.
Democrat Evera “Sue” Clary listened to a debate between Ferguson and Salem Democratic Committee Chairman Jay Bellanca and decided she could do better.
“I heard (Bellanca) at a debate and afterward I said to him, ‘Look, if you really want to do this, OK, but if you’re just running so that someone is running, I want to run,” Clary said. “I feel very strongly about this.”
Bellanca immediately gave up the job.
It’s the first time in more than a decade that Salem has two vehement candidates vying for the supervisor’s seat.
At the most local level, there’s usually the most activity. Most of the seats for Queensbury and Glens Falls Common Council wards, supervisor and mayor are being hotly contested, and are every four years.
Moreau also regularly has competitive races, as it does this year.
Still, six of the 17 Washington County supervisors are enjoying a long streak of unopposed races. Five others are getting a break this year after being opposed in previous elections. That leaves just six competitive races at the supervisor level in Washington County.
For everyone else, Tuesday is Decision Day.