CATSKILL — Republican Jeff Holliday won the vacant seat on the Catskill Village Board of Trustees after absentee ballots were tallied Thursday.
Holliday defeated Democrat Michelle Williams, 451-369. In-person voting at the polls took place July 6 at the Catskill Firehouse and absentee ballots had to be turned in by 9 p.m. the same day.
Holliday, a retired state trooper and an assistant Catskill fire chief, was born and raised in Catskill. He will fill the seat left vacant when former Village President Vincent Seeley stepped down in January. Trustee Peter Grasse Jr. was appointed village president in April.
Williams, founder of The Mermaid Cafe and Bittersweet Ice Cream Shop, took an early lead, 315-252, after the polls closed Tuesday, but 265 absentee ballots had yet to be opened and tally.
Holliday won on the strength of his showing in the absentee ballot count.
Greene County Board of Elections Republican Commissioner Brent Bogardus said Holliday had 199 absentee votes to Williams’ 54.
Bogardus said objections were raised against 12 ballots due to technical issues, but if the objections are removed, their addition to the tally would not change the outcome of the election.
Williiams said in a statement she was “disappointed with the final results but enjoyed the experience as a first time candidate.”
“I look forward to running again in the future and want to thank all who voted for me no matter their party,” she said.
Holliday said he hopes to be seated for the next Village Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday after the Board of Elections certifies the results.
“I’m excited for the opportunity,” Holliday said. “I’m really appreciative of my supporters. I’m looking forward to get the work because we do have some things we need to get taken care of, so join the board and be a collaborative part of it and keep moving Catskill forward,” he said.
Holliday is a lifelong resident of Catskill. During the campaign, he said his experience in law enforcement provides him with knowledge of how public services work.
“Having been in law enforcement for more than 31 years, I understand how important public safety is. Public safety is not just about policing as much as it’s about visualization and what people perceive,” Holliday said.
Holliday’s key issues include bringing back a community center to help engage area children in recreational programs as well as continued fiscal monitoring of how taxpayer dollars are spent — such as upgrading the water system on Main Street.
He graduated from Catskill High School in 1983 and Columbia-Greene Community College in 1985. Holliday is also a local baseball umpire, basketball coach and softball coach. He has two children with his wife of 26 years, Lori, according to the Town of Catskill Republican Club.
Holliday said in terms of his personality, he is “driven,” and he wants to work for the people of the area as a way to give back to his community.
“Regardless of anything in any political climate, I’m a Catskillian first,” he said.
Grasse said during the campaign that the board was looking forward to filling the seat.
“I’m actually looking forward to it because we’re very busy around here and having that fifth person would definitely be a plus,” he said.
Holliday will be seated until the term expires in March 2022.