Democrats Endorse Candidates

The Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee met on Saturday, February 23rd to decide on endorsements for positions in the upcoming city elections.  The endorsement  meeting lasted a grueling eight hours.

The committee split over endorsing Mayor Kelly but she prevailed and she is now their endorsed candidate.

In a last minute action, Patti Morrison asked the committee at the meeting to endorse her for Commissioner of Finance.  In the end, the committee endorsed Michele Madigan in another split vote.

Eileen Finneran and Kendall Hicks sought the committee’s endorsement for Public Safety Commissioner.  Due to a previous commitment, Ms. Finneran was unable to attend the meeting but sent a statement.  The committee decided not to endorse either candidate and leave the decision to be determined in a primary.

John Franck (Commissioner of Accounts), Dillon Moran (Commissioner of Public Works), and Tara Gaston (Supervisor) were endorsed by consensus.

The committee declined to endorse Steve Mittler who was seeking to run for supervisor.  Mr. Mittler is not currently registered as a Democrat.

I understand the Republican City Committee will be meeting on Tuesday to decide on their endorsements.



24 thoughts on “Democrats Endorse Candidates”

  1. One of the frequently made arguments by those who wanted to replace Saratoga’s commission form of government with a city manager form was that the commission form stifled the opportunities for women to run for office and the change would open up more opportunities for women to run. Ironically we now find it is the members of this group who are now whipping up opposition to the two women incumbents on the city council. Bob Turner, former chair of that charter commission, put himself forward as a candidate to oppose Meg Kelly (the 4th female mayor we have had under the current form of government) then withdrew while Shafer Gaston tried to recruit Ron Kim to run against her. Former Mayor Joanne Yepsen also reached out to at least one other man to try to persuade him to run against Kelly. On display at the marathon Democratic Committee meeting yesterday were also attacks made by the charter change members of the committee on Mayor Kelly and Commissioner Madigan for taking positions for which John Franck was given a pass. Then there is the irony that while the charter change folks repeatedly used the Commissioner of Public Safety position as an example of an office in the commission form that women didn’t run for, now that a woman has come forward to ask for the Democratic nomination, the charter change group has recruited a man to run against her in a primary. As a further twist the Republicans may be on the verge of nominating a female to run for Public Safety Commission as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. After all the years that Eileen has devoted to electing Democrats in this City, it is hard to believe that the Nominating Committee would not endorse her. She is by far the most qualified person for the position that she seeks given her two years as deputy Mayor and eight years as deputy Commissioner of Public Safety. And why would there be a split on endorsing Meg Kelly. She has done an excellent job and deserves the full support of all members of the Committee.

    Chris Mathiesen

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Chris, I couldn’t say it better. Unfortunately, a small group of Dems has banded together to do nothing but put forth their own agenda regardless of qualifications or what is best for the City. Those of us who support Eileen will just need to work harder to make sure she wins the primary and gets her spot on the ballot. And, while most know that, personally, I’ve had my conflict with Meg, I will give credit where due and she has done a laudable job and I will fully support her for another term.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mr. Kaufmann,

    Your unsubstantiated insistence that I attempted to recruit Ron Kim to run *against* Meg Kelly is causing some serious misinformation amongst the Democratic party. I believe my statements to you were clear on this matter. While I understand you have no loyalty to the Democratic party, I would appreciate your clarification of this matter.

    Shafer Gaston


    1. I have responded to this issue previously publishing the email exchange we had over your solicitation of Ron Kim. I think the email exchange speaks for itself. I leave it to the readers of this blog to make up their own minds. I suggest that you refer the Democrats who are upset to these emails. They also can decided the fairness of my characterization:

      On Feb 9, 2019, at 3:39 PM, I wrote:
      I was told that you had solicited Ron Kim to run for mayor. I wanted to confirm whether that is true.

      On Saturday, February 09, 2019 3:59 PM you responded:
      It is true. He declined.

      On Sat, Feb 9, 2019 at 7:18 I wrote back:
      Interested in why you are seeking someone to replace Mayor Kelly.

      On Feb 9, 2019, at 7:21 PM, you responded:
      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.

      On Sat, Feb 9, 2019 at 7:43 PM I wrote back:
      Why wouldn’t you check with her first?

      On Sat 2/9/2019 8:42 PM you responded:
      On the other hand, why would I check with her first?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I don’t know, Shafer, I read your comments and I think it’s fairly clear that you approached Ron Kim to discuss the possibility of him running for Mayor. I’m not sure how else you would frame that than at least an inquiry prior to full recruitment. If Ron had not summarily stated he was not interested, would you have not gone further with this “recruitment”? And, I do have a loyalty to the Democratic Party.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I never said I did not attempt to recruit him. After speaking with other Democrats, including those who work at City Hall, it was not apparent whether we would have a candidate for mayor. I contacted Ron Kim because I knew that he would be a viable Democratic candidate.

        Additionally, as someone who is a Democratic Committee member I take some exception to someone who supports the Saratoga Conservative Chicks via their Political Action Committee claiming they have any loyalty to the Democratic Party


      2. It is regrettably not credible that if you were in good faith you would not have the courtesy to ask the mayor whether she planned to run, especially as a Democratic committee member. You do yourself no service by pursuing these kinds of arguments.
        I am also troubled by this accusation that some unnamed Democrat allegedly is in league with the Saratoga Conservative Chicks. People who follow this blog would benefit from knowing who this person is and what kind of documentation you have to substantiate your claim.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. We just might have ourselves an identity crisis; brewing.

    While the new, national Democratic party has aligned itself with the exteme left,
    would it not be in Saratoga’s best interests to rename the local slate,
    something in keeping with the moderate, privalaged class; for which it represents?

    Yey or ney?

    How will Saratoga’s Democrat party weather the storm after the national party implodes?
    Just sayin.’



  5. I posted earlier yet think it needs repeating here. The self-serving BS coming from the McTygue, Yepsen, Et al. sycophants is nothing more than just that.

    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

    1. I want to add to this based on some of the comments that have come forth and as I learn a bit more about Ms. Morrison. As she is on the School Board (for only one year at this point), I really don’t understand why she would it necessary to try to unseat a Commissioner who has proven to be eminently qualified and served this City extremely well for the past 8 years. Like her or not, her record speaks for itself. I would think that even this group of disgruntled (fully identified above) people would live by principles over personalities rather than recruit and support someone to run against her. And, Patty, a word of warning, be careful, the moment you have an independent thought and don’t tow their line they will turn on you faster than you can imagine. Believe me, I’ve been there.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I think it is really important to identify what is really going on here. This is clear retribution by the McTygue’s and their water carriers to get back at the political opponents they have long desired to get rid of. The Democrats were ever so close at kicking this refuse to the curb, but they have somehow managed to convince three groups to support them.

    The first being new comers that arrived in this town after their time in office, who never truly witnessed the low depths in which they carried themselves. They have somehow managed to convince these people that they are some liberal champions of change, when they are really just looking to use any means possible to get back at old enemies, after years of never caring and fighting against charter change.

    The second group, is a naive bunch of individuals that have always disliked them, but have somehow managed to align themselves with the group, because they think they have found friends that actually support the charter change. In their minds it is ok to work along side the group they viewed as the devil, as long as they can get something, that really isn’t going to make a huge difference, passed. In their minds it is ok to work along side the people that lack clear ethics and political morals, as long as they win in the end. This is witnessed by their silence to the actions of people like Pat Kane, who has worked to defame me and my family through phone calls, social media and his corrupt blog. They stand in silence and refuse to publicly condemn such behavior, proving that they are not true leaders, more willing to follow the party line no matter what the tactics may be. How can you trust them to stand up and do what is right while running government, when they can’t stand up and do what is right while running for government?

    The third group are a few old guard, who can always be trusted to stand by their old friends.

    They don’t care about the Democratic Party, they care about making sure Michele, Eileen and Meg do not win another election and we are witnessing it, because those three have always stood up to that group instead of bending to their will. This group doesn’t care about democracy nor do they care about making sure there are a greater number candidates, nor that there are uncontested elections. If they did, they would make sure all candidates had primaries, including Moran and Gaston, they want these people gone and won’t support them even after they all win their primaries. But this is what one would expect when you nominate someone for DPW, who said they would burn the party to the ground.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Mr. Kaufmann,
    For some reason the formatting does not allow me to reply to your above comment – maybe too many levels of comment on this format?

    Anyway, the “Democrat” is not “unnamed”, I was clearly referring to Ms. LaSalle, who has committed to giving at least $40 to their PAC. I cannot post the screenshot but it is publicly available knowledge on their Facebook event on February 28th. If that is in fact a different Gayle LaSalle, she has my sincerely and utmost apology for mischaracterizing her, but with a name like mine I’m sure you’ll understand me not giving a benefit of the doubt on social media.

    Shafer Gaston


    1. Shafer, I am a dedicated Democrat but not so myopic as to follow blindly those who think I should – which is one of the main reasons I resigned from the Democratic Committee. I want to have free reign with my ideas and ability to express them. As a teacher who spends a good amount of time in the Saratoga Schools, I have my own ideas regarding the need for protection of the teachers and more importantly the children. My ideas just happen to be in contrast to yours. So, yes, I’m willing to pay $ 40.00 to hear some of the candidates who may be of like thinking -I will withhold full judgment until I’ve heard them. That in no way indicates implicit support. It does not label me a conservative and despite those with myopic views, sometimes people from the other side of the aisle have decent ideas. I’m afraid this is just the kind of assumptions and character assassination that goes along with the small group of Democrats who I was referring to above. I’ve been called a traitor for being friends with and supporting Michele Madigan after my split with the former Mayor. And, before you go reminding me I was fired – that is public knowledge. What is not is why and for the moment I’ll leave that alone. If you are, in fact, and I don’t know that you are, one of those in the pockets of the Mytuge/Yepsen camp, you wouldn’t believe me anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. No one appointed me, but I don’t contribute to Republican fundraisers and I don’t hide my name in the interest of transparency, which in the Age of Trump is pretty much a partisan stance. I am happy to adopt a more rigorous set of standards but I think what I have is a pretty good foundation.


  8. I would love Shafer Gaston to explain what the Saratoga Parents For Safer Schools has to do with the Democratic Election. We have all citizens attending our fundraiser, whether they are Republicans, Democrats, independents or have never even voted in a school board election before, but will be this year. SPFSS has to do with bringing in new board members that care not only about a multitude of issues within our school, but also school security and removing the political agendas off the board. I would also like to point out that if Patricia Morrison is running for Commissioner of finance with the intention of winning, she would only be fulfilling one year of her elected position as a school board member. School board members cannot hold any elected positions. I think this clearly drives home what SPFSS has been saying all a long. Our school board has turned political when it should be a bipartisan group, and Patty Morrison was using it as a stepping stone to try to wedge her way into Saratoga politics. She doesn’t care about our kids safety and clearly now does not care about being a board member if she is planning on winning. Patty Morrison equals unsafe schools and higher taxes. If that is who the people of Saratoga wants to elect, you better take a good look at your own character.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So of course GOP candidate Robin Dalton would have nothing to do with your School-board influencing Political Action Committee, correct?


  9. Thank you for that clarification, Kara. It is too bad that some choose to make everything a “them or us” issue. In this case, it also seems to be a poorly presented effort to disqualify my opinion on the upcoming primary and election. I’m sorry your organization which is not meant to political was brought into this.

    Liked by 1 person

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