Saturday, May 30, 2015

Dems pick slate in Troy; 30 candidates now running for 10 seats

The Democrats endorsed their slate of candidates Saturday, bringing the total number running for the 10 open seats in the City of Troy to 30.
Yes, you read that right – 30 candidates running for 10 seats.
It will make for a crazy election season even by #troycrazy standards. And that is saying something. Politics has been a full contact Collar City sport dating to at least the 1870s and Bartholomew “Bat” Shea.
In addition to making things a whole lot of fun – and giving me something to write about – it’s refreshing. We live in an era where just 50 percent of the people eligible to vote actually exercise that war-given right, and there are far fewer taking an active role in their community or their government. And whoever does get elected won’t have an easy go of things. The budget is a mess, unions are screaming for contracts, infrastructure is crumbling and let’s not forget the federal probe going on right now.   
And yet, 30 people step up to the plate.
Like them, hate them, tolerate them or never heard of them until now … hats off to the 30 people listed below.
Since the Dems were the latest to endorse I’ll start with them. According to Rensselaer County Chairman Tom Wade, the endorsed candidates were unanimous – with the exception of District 4 - in that only they were nominated.
Topping the ticket is, of course, Patrick Madden, who the party picked to replace outgoing mayor Lou Rosamilia. As it stands now – provided everyone gets enough signatures after petitioning begins on Tuesday - he first have to get by a primary with fellow Democrats Council President Rodney Wiltshire and newcomer Earnest Everett.
As an aside, the Democrats are not running a candidate for sheriff, Wade said during an appearance on Talk 1300, while the Republicans have three candidates vying for the spot: Pat Russo, Scott Ryan and Bob Ashe.

Those endorsed by the Democrats on Saturday

Mayor:         Patrick Madden

At Large:      Erin Sullivan-Teta

                       Carol Weaver

                       Cary Dresher

District 1:     Laurie Ryan

District 2:     Pamela Troue

District 3:     Charlie Clifford

District 4:     Barbara Jones Higbee

District 5:     Lynn Kopka

District 6:     Wayne D’Arcy

Those endorsed by the Working Families Party (with their party enrollment next to their name)

Mayor:         Rodney Wiltshire (D)

At Large:      Peggy Kownack (D)

                       Anasha Cummings (D)

                       David Martin (blank)

District 1:     Jessica Ashley (G)

District 2:     Anastasia Robertson (D)

District 3:    

District 4:     Bob Doherty (D)

District 5:     David Bissember (D)

District 6:     Corey Jenkins (D)

Those endorsed by the Republicans:

Mayor:         Jim Gordon

At Large:      Carmella Mantello

                       Kim McPherson

                       Andrea Daley

District 1:     Jim Gulli

District 2:     Mark McGrath

District 3:     Dean Bodnar

District 4:    

District 5:     Tom Casey

District 6:     John Donohue

Those not endorsed by anyone:

Mayor:         Ernest Everett (A Democrat)

                       Jack Cox Jr. (Revolution Party)

Here is a breakdown of the likely major and minor party primaries. Get your score card out because you’re going to need it. While the September primary is going to be as confusing as it is interesting, the results, regardless of what they are, could leave nearly all 30 candidates on the ballot come November.


Patrick Madden, the longtime head of the Troy Rehabilitation and Improvement Program, received the Democratic Party endorsement and will make an official announcement Monday. Council President Rodney Wiltshire did interview with the screening committee, and was at the committee meeting Saturday, but did not nominate himself. He is though, unlike Madden, an enrolled Democrat and is gearing up to primary Madden. Wiltshire also received the Working Families Party endorsement so he will be on the ballot in November regardless of September’s primary results.

Ernest Everett, also a Democrat, is a newcomer and provided he gets on the ballot he will likely siphon votes from Wiltshire in September’s primary. Jack Cox Jr., who tried to run four years ago but was bounced off the ballot, said he is going gather petitions to start his own party, the Revolution Party. 

Waiting in the wings as the Dems battle it out is Councilman Jim Gordon, the Republican nominee.


They may as well take all nine candidates, put them in a cage and let them have at it. For starters, Sullivan-Teta is the only incumbent. The enrolled Independence Party member has permission to run in the Democratic Party primary. Her running mates, Cary Dresher and Carol Weaver are both enrolled Democrats and making their first run at office.

Peggy Knowack and Anasha Cummings are enrolled Democrats so they can, and will, run a primary for the Democratic Party nod. Martin isn’t enrolled in a party and will not be able to run in the primary. All three, though, were endorsed by the WFP.

On the Republican side, Carmella Mantello, who toyed with the idea of running for mayor, Kim McPherson and Andrea Daley, have Republican Party support and will all get a Wilson Pakula – the party’s permission – from the Independence and Conservative parties. But, expect Sullivan-Teta to also get Independence Party signatures so there will be a four-way primary for the three seats on that line.

(Just as a brush up for those who may not know: To run in a primary, you either have to be an enrolled member of that particular party or get the party’s permission, known as a Wilson Pakula. Either way, a candidate must get the required number of signatures. Another way to enter into a primary is an opportunity to ballot and that means a candidate has to get enough signatures to open the ballot up to a write in and anyone enrolled in that party can write in anyone’s name. It’s a difficult, nearly impossible, way to go about it.)


Incumbent Jim Gordon is running for mayor and the Republicans picked Jim Gulli to run in his spot. He will also have the Independence and Conservative party lines. Jessica Ashley is enrolled in the Green Party and has the Working Families Party nomination. Laurie Ryan was nominated by the Democrats Saturday.


Incumbent Anastasia Robertson interviewed with the Democratic Party Screening Committee but the nomination went to Pamela Troue.  Robertson, however, is an enrolled Democrat so she will run a primary for that line and already has the Working Families Party support. Waiting in the wings is Mark McGrath, an enrolled Conservative who has GOP and Independence Party support.


Incumbent Republican Dean Bodnar will have that party’s blessing as well as the Conservative and Independence Party lines. The Democrats nominated Charlie Gifford, an Independence Party member who will likely primary Bodnar for that line. The Working Families Party did not endorse anyone.


Bob Doherty, the Democratic Party incumbent, will face a primary by Barbara Jones Higbee. Doherty will also have the WFP line and be on the ballot in November regardless of how he fares in the primary.


Lynn Kopka, who currently serves At Large, received the Democratic Party endorsement but David Bissember, also a Democrat, will primary Kopka. Tom Casey will have the Republican, Conservative and Independence party lines. The seat is open because Councilman Ken Zalewski is term limited out.


The Democrats endorsed Wayne D’Arcy but the WFP endorsed Democrat Corey Jenkins while John Donohue will run on the Republican, Independence and Conservative party lines. The seat is open because Councilman Gary Galuski is term limited out.




Friday, May 22, 2015

Mantello will run At Large

Carmella Mantello is out of the race she was never officially in.
But, rather than run for mayor, the three-term councilwoman will take a shot at an At-Large seat on the Troy City Council.
If she did follow through and make a third attempt at mayor, something she has hinted at for months, she would have had to first primary the Republican nominee Jim Gordon, a Republican representing District 1.
And even if she managed to get by Gordon in the Republican primary, she would not have had the Conservative or Independence party lines without waging much more difficult write-in primaries for those two minor party lines. The two combined can make up 15 percent of the general election vote and it is nearly impossible for a Republican to win without them given that Democrats far outnumber Republicans in the Collar City.
While gearing up for a mayoral run, Mantello did her share of bashing Gordon. The decision to run for an At Large seat, though, has forced her to change her tune. In a press release announcing her intention, she said she have Gordon’s support as well as that of city GOP Chairman Mark Wojcik.
“I am looking forward to a “Partnership for Progress” with Jim and the Whole Republican ticket that will move our city forward in a constructive and comprehensive manner,” Mantello said in a statement.
Two years ago Mantello came in fourth by a narrow margin. She contested the election results and there are still questions as to whether she was edged out by Councilwoman Lynn Kopka, D-At-Large or not for the third and final At-Large spot.
Republican County Chairman Tom Wade, in an email to party members, called her the “strongest” At-Large candidate the GOP has this year, albeit with a hint of sarcasm.
“She is a three-time defeated candidate for citywide office and not a major threat to our campaign but will be the strongest in a field of weak Republican candidates,” Wade said in the email. “We can beat her again in her fourth try.”
Mantello will join Andrea Daley to run At-Large. The party is looking for a third. Last week former Times Union editor Bill Dowd said health reasons forced him out of his own race for an At-Large seat.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The WFP, the GOP, Wiltshire and Gordon

Guess I better get caught up on what is turning out to be a wild year in the City of Troy.
-As expected, Councilman Jim Gordon, R-District 1, got the GOP Selection Committee’s nod. That recommendation now goes to the full committee, which is also expected to approve his nomination. If recent history is any indication, he will also have the Conservative and Independence Party lines.
-The Working Families Party is holding a press conference Monday (May 4) to announce at least a partial slate of candidates. As expected Council President Rodney Wiltshire, D-At Large, will head up the ticket. Other incumbents include, as expected, Democrats Anastasia Robertson in District 2 and Bob Doherty in District 4.
Also slated to speak at the press conference at the top of The Approach is Peggy Kownack, A Democrat running for an At Large seat. Anasha Cummings, who had one of the corniest press conferences in recent memory to announce his bid for an At Large seat, is not listed as a speaker but he was out of town and is expected to run with WFP support.
Others in this year’s lineup include District 1 candidate Jessica Ashley, who served on the Council in the early 2000s and who ran in 2013 on the Green Party line, and District 5 candidate David Bissember.
The WFP is going to be a major player. If the status quo holds true there will be a three-way primary for the all-powerful Democratic Party line with Patrick Madden getting the party proper support (that of Rensselaer County Chairman Tom Wade and company) and newcomer Ernest Everett also running.
That means even if Wiltshire loses the primary he will still be the WFP candidate on the general election ballot in November. If Wiltshire wins the primary, however, it could be the end of the Democratic Party hierarchy as we know it.
-The same could apply for the GOP with Carmella Mantello all but announcing her candidacy for mayor. She said she is starting her own line – Keep Term Limits in Place – so if she loses to Gordon in the primary she will be on the ballot. If she beats Gordon, he will still have the I and C lines and still be on the ballot.
-While it doesn’t seem likely any candidate would wage a serious run on the I or C minor party lines the WFP can and have rallied the troops and could use Wiltshire’s campaign to make their every increasing influence all the more significant.
-The Wade Democrats will likely not endorse Doherty in 4 or Robertson in 2 and it’s still unclear who they have to run for those seats.
-Incumbent At Large Councilwomen Lynn Kopka and Erin Sullivan-Teta – both Wade Dems – have not announced their intentions but it would be surprising if they don’t run again. Especially given this year’s wild dynamics and the fact they are loyal to a party that needs them.
-Former Councilman Mark McGrath announced he is running for his old seat in District 2 and the enrolled Conservative will get the Wilson Pakula from the GOP. It’s not clear if the Wade Dems will challenge Robertson or not.
-Gordon can’t run for his District seat and for mayor and the neither Wade Dems, the Wiltshire Dems nor the GOP have not announced a candidate in District 1.
-Republican Dean Bodnar is running for his fourth and final term and the Dems – both Wade and Wiltshire camps – haven’t said anything about any opposition at this point in time.
-The Wade Dems will likely find someone to run against Doherty in 4.
-The GOP will find someone to run in 5 and the Wade Dems might too.
-District 6 is wide open.
-One more thing … word is Madden might be getting cold feet and who can blame him. Politics has always been called a “blood sport” in Rensselaer County and this year the metaphor could cross the line into the literal. And, the surviving candidates will have to deal with a multi-million deficit, six unions without contracts, likely indictments from a grand jury and that’s including all the other stuff like a crumbling infrastructure, racial tension, crime, arsonists, an eclectic electorate with a host of different needs --- and as sure summer is here now winter will come back and some pipes will surely freeze.
The smartest guy of the whole lot is Mayor Lou Rosamilia who opted to not run again.