Election 2017: Dems could make inroads in county seats


By Jim Poole

Control of the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors is at stake this November, though it’s likely Republicans will stay in the majority.
But with nine races in the county’s 16 towns, Democratic inroads on the lopsided GOP margin are possible.
In voting at the county level, each supervisor is accorded weighted votes according to their town’s population. Cobleskill, the largest, has 481 votes; Blenheim, the smallest, has 33.
There are 2,974 weighted votes when all supervisors vote on legislation. Republicans control 13 towns and have 2,630 weighted votes, while the Democrats have three towns and 344 votes.
Of the nine towns with contested races, Democrats are in office in two, Blenheim and Fulton. To gain substantial ground on the county board, Democrats would have to keep those two towns, win Cobleskill and take a handful of the other contested races where Republicans are in office: Carlisle, Gilboa, Jefferson, Richmondville, Seward and Wright.
Is that possible?
In Cobleskill, incumbent Republican Leo McAllister faces a challenge from Mark Nadeau.
Chris Tague chairs the county Republican Party––he was named unanimously in a caucus to replace the late Lew Wilson last week––believes the race could be close.
“Leo’s done an excellent job,” Mr. Tague said Friday. “When Leo says something, you can take it to the bank.
“But Mark’s a conservative and campaigns well. You just never know, and that’s the problem.”
Cliff Hay, chairman of the county Democratic Party, also believes the Cobleskill election could go either way. He noted the strong public support Mr. Nadeau has in his parking-lot squabble with the Village of Cobleskill.
“A lot of people think he got shafted by the village,” Mr. Hay said. “Nadeau’s a real strong candidate. How’s that race going to go?”
Mr. Tague believes his party has the best chances in towns where Republicans have been incumbents for several terms––Tony VanGlad in Gilboa, Dick Lape in Richmondville, Mr. McAllister––or where they have the strongest credentials––John Bates in Seward, Margaret Hait in Jefferson.
But Mr. Hay isn’t about to concede any race. Recognizing that Jefferson and Giboa are traditional GOP towns, he said, “We have real good candidates there. And Linda Cross in Carlisle. . .she’s got a great chance.”
Mr. Tague pointed to other factors.
“Where a sitting supervisor in his first term or there’s an open seat––those are the ones you have to watch,” he said.
“It all depends on who works the hardest.”
Mr. Hay agreed, adding that at this point, all contested races are uncertain.
“Some years, when you think you’re strong, you get skunked,” he said. “Other times, you think you’re not going to do well, you win.
“I think we’ve got a good chance. Time will tell.”