Illustration by Flickr user Adreson Vita Sá; published under Creative Commons license.
'Tis the season for green beer -- and rural voting. The day after St. Patrick's Day, New York State's littlest municipalities head for the polls to pick their elected officials.
Most of New York State's villages will hold elections on Tuesday, March 18, although a few opt to hold them at the same time as local elections in November, or at another time in the year.
In the Catskills, most village elections are a sleepy affair, with few contested races. A couple of local villages this year have open posts for which no one is running, leaving the race wide open to write-in candidates.
On the other hand, this year's election showdown between incumbents and Rural Heritage challengers in the Sullivan County village of Bloomingburg promises to generate more than enough drama for the whole region. Early Thursday morning, FBI agents swarmed the village, targeting properties owned by controversial developer Shalom Lamm, who recently bought several buildings and has apparently filled them with newly registered voters. If the FBI finds evidence of corruption in Bloomingburg, Lamm's apparent effort to sway election results in the tiny village of just over 400 residents could backfire.
In a statement issued to the press, the Sullivan County Board of Elections stated that elections officials and police would be keeping a close eye on the polls on Tuesday:
In light of recent events law enforcement agencies will be working in conjunction with the Board of Elections to ensure that Tuesday’s elections are conducted with the utmost integrity. Qualified voters, AS ALWAYS, are urged to exercise their right to vote.
It's also going to be a hot election in scandal-plagued Monticello, with a four-way race for two spots on the village board that will decide how much sway the village's embattled mayor Gordon Jenkins will hold over village politics. Even if his favored candidates lose, Jenkins will go down swinging: With the election just days away, the mayor and two of his allies on the board appointed a new village manager, whose contract specifies that he must be paid for a full two years even if he is fired.
Below: A five-county guide to who's on the ballot in Tuesday's village elections across the Catskills region. Most elections will be held from noon to 9 p.m.; check with your local village hall for locations.
- A three-way race for two village trustee spots is on in Hancock, with incumbents Alice Hartz and William Schoonmaker facing challenger Shaun Shannon, a former trustee. Village justice Herbert Buckley is also running unopposed for a new term.
- Two incumbent trustees are seeking re-election in Delhi: Jeremy Fitch and Christopher Maney.
- Fleischmanns has two incumbent trustees running for re-election: Harriet Grossman and David Yates.
- A new mayoral candidate is running to replace Franklin's outgoing mayor John Campbell: Tom Briggs, who has not previously held village office. Incumbent trustee Paul DeAndrea is also running for re-election.
- Hobart has two incumbent trustees running for re-election: David Hotaling and Gordon Key.
- In Margaretville, whose board of trustees has two open seats, only incumbent Dave Budin is running on the official ballot, leaving one seat on the board open to any write-in candidate. John Hubbell is running a write-in campaign for the other seat.
- There's a bit of election-year musical chairs happening this year in Stamford, where former mayor Michael Jacobs died suddenly last fall. Acting mayor Joan Hinman, a trustee who was appointed by the board to replace Jacobs, is running to serve as mayor for another year. Meanwhile, the last year of Hinman's term as trustee is open, with no candidates on the ballot. Local resident Maryann Dwyer has mounted a write-in campaign for the one-year term. Two incumbent trustees -- John Bonhotal and Donna Jacobs, wife of the late mayor -- are running for re-election to two-year terms.
- Walton incumbent trustees David Breese and Allan Reynolds are running for re-election.
Two other Delaware County villages are not holding elections next week. Deposit held an election two weeks ago, in which two incumbents went uncontested. Sidney has no election until March of 2015.
- Athens has a three-way race for two village board seats: Incumbent Gail Lasher is running, as are newcomers Phyllis Dinkelacker and Peter Alberti.
- In Catskill, incumbent Joe Kozloski and challenger Rick Paolino face off for a single seat on the village board, while village justice Maria LaRosa runs unopposed for re-election.
- In Coxsackie, two candidates are running unopposed for two village board seats: Incumbent Dianne Ringwald and newcomer Daniel Hellen.
- Longtime village mayor William Maley of Hunter is running unopposed for a fourth term.
- Two incumbent trustees on Tannersville's village board are running unopposed for re-election: Brian Walsh and Leigh McGunnigle.
- Middleburgh has two candidates seeking seats on the village board: Incumbent Sheryl Adams and newcomer Lilian Bruno.
- Two candidates are seeking two seats on the Richmondville village board: Incumbent Milan Jackson and newcomer Stephen Shore.
The villages of Cobleskill and Esperance hold their elections in November. Sharon Springs holds its elections in June. The village of Schoharie has no election until March of 2015.
- In Bloomingburg, a slate of Rural Heritage candidates faces off against the incumbents and their supporters. On the "Bloomingburg Strong" ticket are incumbent mayor Mark Berentsen, incumbent trustee Charles Griswold, and former Mamakating town supervisor Harold Baird seeking a trustee seat. On the Rural Heritage ticket are mayoral candidate Frank Geraldi Jr. and two candidates for trustee: James Johnson and Katherine Roemer. Running unopposed for town justice is James Cracolici.
- In Liberty, four candidates are vying for two seats on the village board: Incumbent Joan Stoddard and challengers Robert Mir, Thomas Sprague and Richard Winters.
- In Monticello, two pairs of candidates are facing off for two seats on the village board: Incumbent Rochelle Massey (the girlfriend of mayor Gordon Jenkins) and Oswald Allen on one side, and challengers Douglas Solomon (former Monticello police chief) and Jill Kenny-Weyer (Sullivan County's acting planning commissioner) on the other. Josephine Finn is running unopposed for village justice.
- Jeffersonville has two candidates running unopposed for two seats on the village board: Incumbent Randall Harris and newcomer Gregory Brewer.
- In Wurtsboro, two trustee candidates are running unopposed: Lyman Holmes for a two-year term and Frank Sisco for a one-year term.
The village of Woodridge holds its elections in November.
- In Saugerties, three incumbent trustees are running for three-year terms: Vincent Buono, Donald Hackett and Terry Parisian. Justice Robert Rightmyer is running for re-election to another four-year term.
The village of New Paltz holds its elections in November. Ellenville holds its elections in May.
This post was updated on Monday, March 17 with more information about elections in Margaretville and Schoharie.