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Greene County sees Red on Election Day

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    Retired state police senior investigator Pete Kusminsky of Cairo will seek the nomination to run for Greene County sheriff.
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    Dale Finch
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    Doreen Davis
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    District 3 election inspectors await voters Tuesday at the Robert C. Antonelli Senior Center on Academy Street in Catskill. Voters can be seen marking their ballots in the background.
November 6, 2019 07:36 pm

For many of the towns in Greene County, the Republican party had a successful 2019 election cycle.

Athens, Cairo, Catskill, Coxsackie, Durham, New Baltimore and Windham will have Republican town councilmen. Hunter will have town councilmen from each party. The mountaintop towns of Jewett, Lexington and Prattsville may also be mixed bags, depending on absentee ballots. Another mountaintop exception is Prattsville town supervisor, which will be Democratic incumbent Kristin Tompkins. Cairo and Windham will have Republican town supervisors. The Catskill race for town supervisor remains too close to call.

The race for retiring Greene County Sheriff Greg Seeley’s position ended in a 7,706-2,919 vote between Peter Kusminsky, who ran on the Republican and Conservative lines and Diana Benoit, who ran on the Independence party line.

“I am very happy with the results,” Kusminsky said Wednesday. “My campaign focused on my experience and what I can do to benefit the sheriff’s office and the citizens of Greene County. I’m looking forward to working together with all of the other agencies in Greene County as well as all of our residents. I am humbled and very appreciative of the support I received from all over this great county.”

Benoit did not respond to requests for comment.

In Catskill, tensions remain high between incumbent Democratic Town Supervisor Doreen Davis, who ran on the Independence and SAM party lines, and Dale Finch, who ran on the Republican and Conservative lines. Finch holds a slim lead of two votes, with absentee ballots still to be counted.

“We ran a campaign based on my record, a collaborative, accomplished rich list of achievements we got done as a team without regard to political party,” Davis said. “My message to voters is that this is yet again an example that every vote counts. The absentee ballots are extremely competitive and I look forward to a transparent process to determine the winner. In a second term, I’ll continue to focus on the financial health of the town, robust business growth and the dignity and respect directed to our employees.”

Finch said he has enjoyed interacting with the community and looks forward to serving, he said.

“A lot of it was going to door to door, listening to people’s concerns,” Finch said. “I enjoyed meeting everybody. It was a great experience. I greatly appreciate each and every person that came out to vote, regardless of what party they are in. I appreciate that they exercised their right to vote for the next town supervisor.”

If the absentee ballots support the preliminary results, Finch plans to take a fiscally responsible approach to the office, work to improve programs for seniors, youth and veterans, and increase the transparency of town government, he said.

In Cairo, a whopping four candidates appeared on the ballot, although current Town Supervisor Daniel Benoit announced that he was not actively seeking re-election. Despite his announcement, Benoit received 84 votes in the election.

John Coyne ran on Republican and Your Voice Heard party lines against Ted Banta, a Democrat, and clerk to the current town supervisor, Sherry B. True, who ran on the True Choice line. Coyne and Banta have both served as town supervisor in the past. Coyne received 636 votes, True 549 and Banta 440.

“I am very pleased with the voter turnout,” Coyne said. “I’m looking forward to working with everybody in town. I want every resident in town to feel welcome at town hall and at town meetings. That’s why we’re here — to represent them.”

Banta is grateful for the support he received, he said.

“I am grateful for the support and encouragement I received from voters, friends, family and colleagues,” Banta said. “It is a blessing to have served in public office and to aspire to serve again. I am grateful for the discussions I had with residents, taxpayers and voters about how we can improve Cairo. The voters, as much as possible, should get involved and hold their elective representatives - the town board - accountable for results. I congratulate John Coyne and the new council members and wish them well, along with the town board.”

True did not respond to requests for comment.

After needing a judge to ensure his name and town council candidate Natasha Shuster’s name appeared on the ballot, town supervisor candidate Nick Bove got his chance to face Republican challenger Thomas Hoyt.

Bove was nominated at the Windham Democratic caucus in July but almost did not make it on the ballot because the Town Democratic Party Chairman Tom Poelker did not submit the paperwork to the Greene County Board of Elections on time, according to court documents. State Supreme Court Judge Lisa Fisher ruled in favor of Bove in September.

But Hoyt led the way with an unofficial 398-272 victory over Bove on Tuesday.

Hoyt said he is happy with the election results, he said.

“I believe I’m up by 126 votes at this time,” he said. “I’m confident I’ll be able to maintain my advantage,” he said. “Myself and my campaign ran a positive campaign. I feel fortunate I can represent the town of Windham for the next two years.”

Bove expressed disappointment not only with the numbers, but with the behavior of individuals during the election.

“I am obviously disappointed with the outcome of the election but I am proud that we ran a clean campaign,” Bove said. “I would not want to compromise who I am and what I stand for to be the town supervisor. I want to thank all of my talented, informed and enthusiastic supporters for all that they did in pursuit of our shared vision for a brighter future for Windham.

“When I make a selection of who I am going to vote for, I treat the decision like a job interview and select the candidate based on integrity, education, experience and skills - I ask myself, ‘who is most capable to perform the job?’ I wish that all voters would do the same and not make their choice based on party affiliation or other factors unrelated to merit.

“Most importantly, I wish that candidates and their supporters would not choose to create ugly lies and spew vitriol during what should be a civil, democratic process. We can and should do better. I continue to wish good things for our community and I will continue to contribute to enhancing Windham as I have done as a volunteer for the last 25 years.”