The Election Season Is Beginning Early And Doesn’t Appear To Bode Well

As some background, the local primaries have been moved up significantly creating a bit of a scramble for some.

 New York State used to hold its primaries in the fall.  In 2012 the Federal Government requested that New York move the primaries for US Senate and the House of Representatives up to June in order to insure that military and overseas ballots had sufficient time to be received and counted.  At the time the State Legislature considered moving the state primaries up to the same June date.  The New York State Assembly controlled by the Democrats supported the change but the Senate where the Republicans were in control rejected the change.  The Republicans argued that because the legislative session ran through June, they would not have enough time to campaign. 

 According to an excellent article in the New York Times  that explains all this, “New York’s bifurcated primaries, however, have caused the state to spend millions of dollars more; at the same time, having two separate primaries can also suppress voter interest, election law experts and state officials say.”  The Times story goes into more detail about other problems with having primaries occur on two different dates.

 So in January when the Democrats took over the New York Senate they passed a package of reforms which included adjusting the dates for state primaries.  According to a January 10 article in the New York Times :

The proposals are a veritable wish list for those who have blamed New York’s laws for driving down voter turnout. The measures include allowing early voting, preregistration of 16- and 17-year-olds and consolidating state and federal primary elections, which are now held in different months.”

 “Lawmakers also plan to pass bills to allow vote-by-mail and same-day voter registration, though those proposals will also require voter referendums — and passage by the next Legislature, scheduled to be seated in 2021 — as they change the State Constitution.”

 The legislature is also considering bill to limit the contributions and require reporting for LLC’s.  These are Limited Liability Corporations which have been used to hide the ownership of these LLC’s while allowing large contributions.

 So all primary elections this year will be on June 25th.  This means that candidates will be able to start circulating petitions on February 26.  The petitions must be submitted to the local board of elections between April 1 and April 4.

 The Saratoga Springs Democratic Party has set up a committee to consider endorsements.  The committee is in the process of interviewing candidates, and the City Democratic Committee will vote on endorsements on Saturday, February 23.

So Who May Be Running For Saratoga Springs City Council Seats In The Upcoming November Election?

 Here is the latest information I have on the Democratic field of candidates.  I assume that all the council seats will be contested in the coming primary.

Definitely Running:

Meg Kelly – Mayor

John Franck – Accounts

Michele Madigan – Finance

Eileen Finneran – Public Safety

Skip Scirocco (Republican) – Public Works

 Extremely Likely To Be Running:

Dylan Moran – Public Works

 Rumored to Be Running:

Bob Turner – Mayor

Billy McTygue – Accounts

Kendall Hicks – Public Safety


An Exchange With Shafer Gaston That Suggests What The Primaries and Elections May Be Like

 To Shafer Gaston from John Kaufmann on January 9 at 3:39 PM

I was told that you had solicited Ron Kim to run for mayor.  I wanted to confirm whether that is true.

To John Kaufmann from Shafer Gaston on February 9 at 3:59 PM

It is true.  He declined.

To Shafer Gaston from John Kaufmann on February 9 at 7:18 PM

 Interested in why you are seeking someone to replace Mayor Kelly

 To John Kaufmann from Shafer Gaston on February 9 at 7:21 PM

 At the time, Mayor Kelly had not announced she was running for re-election.  Unfortunately, due to the compressed timeline that few people were expecting, if there were going to be candidates for city offices they would need to announce much earlier (and therefore be approached much earlier) than in previous years to make the timeline.

 To Shafer Gaston from John Kaufmann on February 9 at 7:43 PM

 Why wouldn’t you check with her first?

To John Kaufmann from Shafer Gaston on February 9 at 8:42 PM

 On the other hand, why would I check with her first?





15 thoughts on “The Election Season Is Beginning Early And Doesn’t Appear To Bode Well”

  1. What’s not boding well? Uncontested elections lead to an erosion of democracy, and sap the legitimacy of the elected government by giving it no true popular mandate.


      1. I’m not running anyone against anybody. However, we have over a 100 local elected offices in this county up any given odd year, and over 75% are uncontested. It hardly promotes trust in government, does it?


  2. Shafer—I’m sure you realize that there are many reasons elections are sometimes uncontested and that uncontested elections are not just a problem in Saratoga County but nationally. I do find it curious that given how many Republicans go unchallenged in general elections in this heavily Republican County that you have chosen to recruit candidates to run primaries against incumbent Democrats in Saratoga Springs. Will you be recruiting a candidate to make sure your wife, Democratic Supervisor Tara Gaston, has opposition to ensure that she has “a true popular mandate”? How about spending some time and some of that energy finding someone to run against Republican Supervisor Matt Veitch who has rarely had an opponent.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Shafer:
        Technically it is true that you never actually recruited anyone but you might recall the following:

         To Shafer Gaston from John Kaufmann on January 9 at 3:39 PM

        I was told that you had solicited Ron Kim to run for mayor.  I wanted to confirm whether that is true.

        To John Kaufmann from Shafer Gaston on February 9 at 3:59 PM

        It is true.  He declined.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Sorry i’m late to reporting to political pitchers + catchers – my agent said i would get a longer deal if i waited…

    One housekeeping note: I believe the ‘Mr. Moran’ you refer to as an “extremely likely DPW candidate’ spells his name Dillon – I point this out because there is a “Dylan Moran” with some local ties, who happens to be a comedian! ( – irony notwithstanding, Dillon (with 2L’s) is a member of the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee, and though we disagree on some things (like charter change) I find him to be an interesting person who actually discusses ideas as opposed to his Moonie charter changer colleagues. If he does run, I would think he would be a very viable candidate.

    I am intrigued by the maneuver of having charter changers working through the system this time – the implicit goal to gain seats or command of the council in order to change it. Nothing wrong with this at all, but hopefully they will recognize that a candidate for city council is expected to have a full platform of ideas and positions about all the issues facing the city (parking, affordable housing, South Broadway development and others) and not just be ‘one-trick ponies’ about government structure.

    Time to do my running in the outfield – it’s going to be a great year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Arthur. A voice of reason.:

      “I am intrigued by the maneuver of having charter changers working through the system this time – the implicit goal to gain seats or command of the council in order to change it.”


  4. Hey!

    Here’s a novel idea heard is not-so-common circles:
    How about purging the city of the 2 national parties!

    D & R give an impression of old-boy fraternization & pompous ideology on both sides.
    Yes, Democrats too.

    Image the utter disappointment & dismay that our dearest friends are now embarrassing the new label; “The Party of Crazy.”
    Thank you Alexandria, darlink.

    Listen up peoples!
    When Jim Kunstler starts sounding sane, that’s a leading indicator (big time).

    How about this:

    The Spirit of Life Party (or “Party-A”).
    The High Rock Party (or “Party-B”).

    The Turnaaah Skid-Row Party (or “Party-C for CRAZY”).*
    Insert tongue-in-cheek here. (lol)

    *Sorry Meg. No reference to Community Rowing!
    (Go ladies!)

    It was heard that Saratoga did not align with D or R until the 1980’s.
    Yes or No?

    And, while we are at it–
    How about getting our elected reps REAL SALARIES!
    Their compensation package is so ridiculously inadequate, it’s no wonder why no one is running.

    Just a thought.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. How about we just purge parties altogether? All they do is divide people anyway. It’s AMAZING how well people work together when they don’t see a “D” or “R”. And I sincerely mean that. We do NOT need political parties at ANY level.


  5. I understand (and I am out of the country at the moment so just have a bit of knowledge on this) that there was a challenge to Michele Madigan for Finance at the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee meeting today. Whether you like Michele, personally, or not, (For full disclosure, she is someone I count as a friend) one would be hard pressed to say she has not done an excellent job for the past 8 years. Despite some serious and at times quite petty opposition from the former Mayor, she was able to accomplish a good deal and keep taxes flat. Since then she has moved forward with the move toward solar energy and improved internet services in the City. Add to that, despite the cost entailed after the fire at City Hall, she was able to work with all the Commissioners, make the needed adjustments to the city budget and keep the taxes flat. That in itself is a feat.

    All that said, this opposition -which may turn into a full primary challenge – is not more than an attempt at a power grab by a few disgruntled has-beens who simply can’t see that they don’t have the position in the Saratoga Springs government that they had in the past. These same people are being backed by the former Mayor and her friends who as far as I can see have no one’s interest in mind but their own – certainly not the interest of the City and what is best. It is self-centered and an example of what is the worst in the greater political world today. I personally am saddened that those in Saratoga Springs would do this and even more so that those in the Democratic party would do this. Shame on them!

    Liked by 2 people

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