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Democratic primary set for Sept. 12

Hudson’s ward boundaries changed on Jan. 1 after Proposition 1 passed in November 2016. The map shows the new ward lines.
August 29, 2017 11:30 pm Updated: August 30, 2017 02:17 pm

HUDSON — The Columbia County Board of Elections has ruled that three petitions belonging to candidates seeking a place on the Democratic line on the ballot in November are invalid:

-Earl Swanigan, for mayor on the Democratic line

-Henry Haddad, for First Ward Alderman on the Democratic line

-Willette Jones, for Second Ward supervisor on the Democratic line

Swanigan’s elimination from contention means Harry “Rick” Rector, the First Ward alderman, is running unopposed in the Hudson mayoral race.

The candidates failed to secure enough valid signatures of Democratic Party voters in their district, Columbia County Board of Elections Democratic Commissioner Virginia Martin said Tuesday.

Earl Swanigan was a candidate for mayor. He was on the list of candidates July 18, but that did not guarantee his spot on the November ballot or in the primary race. Swanigan’s candidacy was ultimately invalidated about a month ago because he did not have enough valid signatures.

“A valid signature is one that is taken during the appropriate time period from a duly registered member of the party in question that has all the required information: date of signing, signature, address and city,” Martin said. “It also must be appropriately and personally witnessed by someone qualified to witness the signature. The signature of a voter who previously signed a petition for the same office for someone else is invalid.”

But if a candidate has qualified for another ballot line, he or she will appear on the ballot, Martin said. For instance, Jones will appear on the ballot on the Working Families party line.

Those candidates, as well as anyone else, can be elected as a write-in, Martin said.

On Tuesday, Haddad, an incumbent who has served as alderman for four years, said he would not be campaigning as a write-in candidate.

Haddad said he plans to run again in the future, but has become frustrated with what he calls “a lack of leadership in the city.” He said he wished he saw more of the “new candidates that have decided to run this summer” at a recent meeting of the Police Committee, which was held Monday.

At the meeting, Hudson Police Chief L. Edward Moore discussed the police department’s response to recent shootings and addressed concerns from the public.

The primary election will be held from noon to 9 p.m. Sept. 12.

“Having new ward boundaries seems to have resulted in more people who are interested in running for office, particularly people who have not done so before, and that’s a good thing,” Martin said. “There are more contested primary races for alderman and supervisor than in recent memory. It’s good when the voters have a choice.”

According to the Columbia County Board of Elections’ website, the following candidates will run in the Democratic primary:

Common Council President (vote for 1)

Steve Dunn

Tom DePietro

First Ward Alderman (vote for 2)

Kamal Johnson

Rob Bujan

Michael O’Hara

Second Ward Alderman (vote for 2)

Tiffany Garriga

Victor Mendolia

Dewan A. Sarowar

Third Ward Supervisor (vote for 1)

John Friedman

Michael Chameides

Fourth Ward Supervisor (vote for 1)

Linda Mussmann

William Hughes Jr.

Fourth Ward Alderman (vote for 2)

Lauren Scalera

Rich “Trixie” Volo

John Rosenthal

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.

Editor's Note:  This article reflects a correction of an earlier version. A qualified candidate for a ballot line will appear on the ballot.

"But if a candidate has qualified for another ballot line, he or she will appear on the ticket, Martin said.” What ticket? I did not say this.