ORANGE COUNTY EAST – Election Roundup 2017
By Edie Johnson
VOTER TURNOUT HIGH, DIMINISHED BY NEITHER RAIN NOR SNOW
STEVE NEUHAUS AND HIS “TEAM ORANGE’ HAD A CLEAR WIN IN RE-ELECTION FOR 2ND TERM, BUT DAVIS GAVE A GOOD SHOWING AT A VOTE TOTAL OVER 40%
Last night’s elections had high voter turnout, breaking records in some instances with final tallies not diminished by bad weather. Despite teaming rain, several polling places had packed parking lots as the 9 pm hour approached.
Candidates and their supporters gathered after polls closed with baited breath at local electioneering headquarters, mostly at Slesinger’s Steak House in New Windsor for the republican Newburgh crowd, Route 208 Grill in Blooming Grove for the democrats farther south in the OC corridor , and The Castle in Chester for a large crowd of republicans. Just as the final results began to suggest the winners, the teaming rain turned to some sleet and eventually, as if to usher in the final tally, a brief spell of the first falling snow of the season. Totals were in between 10 and 11 pm, and in many cases showed record numbers coming out to support their favorite candidates, some running unopposed and some resulting in nerve-wracking tight tallies.
Pat Davis and his supporters watch as early results come in.
County Executive, Steve Neuhaus, won a clear victory against newcomer Patrick Davis, (59.2% to 40.7%) but Davis garnered enough votes to send a clear message that some residents place a high priority on issues other than growth of jobs and increase in business growth. Davis supporters emphasized growth tempered by serious protection of environmental resources and growing the assets of tourism and the arts. and more intensive long-term planning. In his victory speech Neuhaus counted the win as a valediction of the direction the county is headed, being one of the fastest growing business counties in the state, and regularly receiving inquiries from CEO’s wanting to relocate in the county. He said he was encouraged that a republican increase in legislature to 15 of 21 legislative seats will allow his party’s programs to continue moving forward, but added that he wants to work with democrats to bring Orange County into the future.
Pat Davis told the Orange County Post “I’m very proud of the challenge I mounted for the County Executive seat, and I’m particularly thankful for all of my supporters who put their faith in me and worked hard to help me introduce myself and share my message to the voters in Orange County. In the end, nearly 30,000 people cast their ballot for me, and while it’s disappointing that we didn’t bring home a victory, we forced the conversation on important issues and demonstrated that many of us are ready for change. I’m looking forward to staying engaged.”
Legislative Seats in Eastern Orange County
In the legislative seats of the eastern part of the county, close races resulted in a win by Kathy Calhoun Stegenga(R) over Janette McKay(D) in Legislative District #11, and a loss by long-time democratic legislator Myrna Kemnitz to republican Peter Touhy in District 7. Katie Bonelli (R) retained her seat in District #11 against newcomer Stephen Hunter (D), James O’Donnell (R) ran unopposed in District #2 (Goshen and Chester). and Kevindarian Lujan took the support of fellow dem and former opponent Omari Shakur to keep the seat in Newburgh District #4 from republican candidate Anthony Tarsio. Laurie Tautel unseated James DeSalvo in District 14. Joe Minuta fought off a bid by Sylvia Santiago in District 15. Kevin Hines kept his Cornwall District 12 seat after an impressive effort by newcomer Virginia Scott. John Vero (District 10), James Kulisek (District 6), Leigh Benton (District 16) and Mike Anagnostakis (District 17) easily kept their seats.
Longtime democratic Monroe Legislator, Myrna Kemnitz lost this time around to republican Peter Touhy. With decades of public service, she is expected to continue contributions to Monroe and Orange County’s future.
Contests for Local Office
In the contests for local office, longtime New Windsor Supervisor George Green who was again unopposed, kept his seat with a good turnout, as did Town of Newburgh Supervisor Gil Piaquadio in the Town of Newburgh. In the Town of Blooming Grove, Village Mayor Rob Jeroloman was unopposed as he stepped up to the Town Supervisor spot following Bob Fromaget’s decision earlier in the year not to run for re-election. Chester Supervisor, Alex Jamieson also ran unopposed, and his 3 relatively new councilmen (Bob Valentine, Ryan Wensley, and Brendan Medican) joined Cindy Smith to retain their seats.
Town of Newburgh Supervisor, Gil Piaquadio placed his votes early (left).
(right) Blooming Grove Supervisor Bob Fromaget chats with Orange County Democratic Caucus Leader Matt Turnbull
Local and State Referendum Decisions
Of the 4 referendum items, there was a clear stand to not hold a Constitutional Convention. Voters in Monroe came out in high numbers to split the town from the Village of Kiryas Joel, which will now continue the procedure to file for their own Town of Palm Tree. Voters in Blooming Grove turned down the option of switching the Highway Superintendent position from elected to appointed. Voters statewide voted for the option of removing pensions from any convicted felon; however the measure is not retroactive and will apply to a felon only if convicted after January 1, 2018. Lastly, a measure to allow 250 acres of land to be banked in forest/open space for maintenance and access was not declared by Tuesday afternoon press time.
Ward Voting in Newburgh and Blooming Grove
Ward positions in the two towns having ward positions were decided as follows, this being Blooming Grove’s first election of Ward council representatives:
Newburgh Wards were decided as follows:
Ward 1 – Karen Meja
Ward 2 – Ramona Monteverde
Ward 3 – Jonathan Jacobson
Ward 4 – Patricia Sofokles
In Blooming Grove, council positions were decided as follows:
Ward 1 – Jason Kramer
Ward 2 – Thomas DeVinko
Ward 3 – Charles Quick
Ward 4 – Sonia Ayala
Ward 5 – George Doering
See Friday’s issue of the Orange County Post for more stories and photos of Election 2017