Catskills elections 2015: Railroads, ecstasy and flaming campaign signs

It’s town and county election day in the Catskills, and incumbents and would-be elected officials are squaring off in over 100 local races spanning Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster counties.

Many town supervisors, town councilors and county legislators serving two or four-year terms are up for re-election, making for a dizzying array of races throughout the region.

Polls are open until 9 p.m. tonight. You can find sample ballots for each town in Delaware, Schoharie and Ulster counties online, and a list of candidates and ballot propositions for Sullivan County online. If you live in Greene County, you’re out of luck: There’s no online election information about candidates available from that county’s board of elections

We’ll be watching and posting results from the biggest and most interesting races tonight starting around 9 p.m. We’ll also go on the air with WJFF 90.5 FM in Jeffersonville at 10:15 p.m. to talk election results. 

Here are a few of the races we’ll be watching.

In many contests, tempers and rhetoric are running high. In the Sullivan County town of Highland, the town supervisor's campaign signs were actually set on fire in October, according to the River Reporter.

The resolutely dry town of Neversink considers a ballot proposition to repeal its ban on the selling of alcohol at restaurants and grocery stores. It’s a long shot—a similar measure has soundly defeated in the past, according to Jennifer Grimes, the owner of the Eureka Market & Café in Grahamsville, who is spearheading the effort.

Riding high on new plans for a casino, Sullivan County Republicans are hoping to wrest control of the county legislature from the Democrats, while the county’s most powerful politician, Democrat Kathy LaBuda, faces a surging challenge from Lumberland’s town supervisor Nadia Rajsz for the Sullivan County’s District Two Legislative seat.

Railroads are the big issue in Ulster County, where County Executive Michael Hein’s plan to replace the Catskill Mountain Railroad with a rail trail has become the target of two opponents, Republican Terry Bernardo and 18-year-old Green Party candidate Hunter Downie, who are both trying to win by rallying fans of the railroad

In Woodstock, the local town justice is being challenged for his seat by a felon and avowed Libertarian who has served time for manufacturing ecstasy, according to the Daily Freeman. (Being a felon disqualifies a candidate from serving as a town justice, according to state law.)

That’s not the only race that involves possible criminal activity. In the Greene County town of Windham, the current supervisor, Stacy Post, who is waging a write-in campaign for re-election, was indicted earlier this year for allegedly installing secret eavesdropping devices in town hall. Last month, a judge threw the indictment out because of improprieties committed by the prosecutor, according to the Daily Mail. That leaves Post free to serve as supervisor if she is re-elected. (She cannot serve if she is convicted of a felony.)

Political action committees and political consultants are pouring money into relatively small races in Delaware County, including a heated three-way battle for the supervisor of the town of Middletown and a new county Family Court Judge position.

In the town of Walton, the sitting supervisor and budget director for the entire county, Bruce Dolph, finds himself waging a write-in campaign for his own seat after losing the Republican primary. 

In Schoharie County, Gene Milone, a driving force behind a reform agenda on the county’s board of supervisors, is facing a stiff challenge from a Republican opponent, Chris Tague, in the town of Schoharie. In nearby Blenheim, a retired Albany powerbroker is coming back to politics in an attempt to unseat Supervisor Shawn Smith.

One race isn’t really a contest at all: In the Greene County town of Prattsville, supervisor Kory O'Hara is a shoo-in for re-election, because his opponent, Michelle Blain, will resign if she wins, according to the Windham Journal. Believe it or not, this has happened before

Join us tonight for live election results starting at 9 p.m.