Election Day arrives with choices at the polls

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 November 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Albion voters can cast their ballots at the Hoag Library, one of the polling locations in Orleans County. To see a list of polling locations, click here.

A hard-fought campaign for Orleans County sheriff will conclude today when residents go to the polls and pick among three candidates: Don Organisciak, a Democrat; Randy Bower, a Republican and Conservative; and Tom Drennan, who is backed by the Independence and Reform parties.

It has been a contentious race going back to the spring. Drennan, the chief deputy for the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office, was endorsed by the Orleans County Republican Committee on May 7.

However, Bower, a public safety dispatcher, mounted an aggressive charge during the summer and won the Republican Primary on Sept. 10 over Drennan by 21 votes, 1,671 to 1,650. Bower has been highly visible at community events in recent months, from church chicken dinners to the Orleans County 4-H Fair.

Drennan has stayed in the race and also has been showing no signs of let up before Election Day with meet-and-greet events as recently as Sunday in Carlton.

Organisciak is a retired Medina police officer and investigator. He is currently a part-time Medina school bus driver. He, too, held meet-and-greet events last week and has attended numerous community festivals and events since the summer.

The sheriff’s race isn’t the only county contest on the ballot today.

Two incumbent county legislators have opposition. Republican Don Allport faces a challenge from James White, a 21-year-old Democrat, for a county-wide legislator position from the central towns. Republican Lynne Johnson is challenged by Paul Lauricella, vice chairman of the County Conservative Party, for a District 2, which includes Yates, Ridgeway and a portion of Shelby.

Other county candidates are unopposed, including David Callard for at-large legislator (west); E. John DeFilipps for at-large legislator (east); William Eick for District 1 (Barre, Clarendon and most of Shelby); Fred Miller for District 3 (Albion and Gaines); and Kenneth DeRoller for District 4 (Kendall, Murray and Carlton).

A county coroner, Rocky Sidari of Albion, also is on the ballot. The former Albion fire chief is unopposed and backed by the Republican, Conservative and Reform parties.

Here is how the Hoag Library main meeting room looked at about 7 a.m. today, with several spots set up for voters to cast their ballots.

The candidates for town positions include:


Matthew Passarell (R,C) is unopposed for town supervisor and Sarah Basinait (R, D) is unopposed for town clerk. There is a three-way battle for two Town Board positions. Darlene Benton, a Democrat, joins the ballot with Republican Paul Fulcomer and Anthony (Jake) Olles, who is backed by the Democrats and Republicans.

Michael Neidert and Jed Standish are vying for highway superintendent. Neidert is backed by the Democrats and Republicans. He won a Republican primary over Standish, who is running under the Reform and “All In For Albion” independent party.


There is a race for town supervisor with incumbent Mark Chamberlain, a Republican, challenged by Cyndy Van Lieshout, a Democrat. Republicans have backed Larry Gaylard and Sean Pogue for Town Board, and Democrats are challenging them with Joe Grabowski and Richard Bennett, a former county legislator.

Dale Brooks is unopposed for highway superintendent after winning a Republican primary. Maureen Beach (R, D) is unopposed for town clerk.


The Republican candidates are unopposed on the ballot, including Gayle Ashbery for town supervisor; John Fitzak and Dana Woolston for Town Board (4-year terms); Marcus Coville for Town Board (2-year term); and Patricia Russell for town justice. Frank Lauta is mounting a write-in campaign for Town Board.


There is a three-way race for highway superintendent. Larry Swanger, the incumbent, won a Republican Primary on Sept. 10 with four candidates. Swanger is on the ballot today with the Republican, Independence and Reform lines. He is challenged by Tracy Bruce Chalker (Conservative, Labor Force) and Frederick K. Seeman III (A & K Party).

The other Republican candidates are all unopposed, including Richard Moy for town supervisor, Thomas M. DiFante and Kevin Rombaut for town justices, William Campbell and Allen Robinson for town councilman, and Susan Colby for town clerk.


The Republican Town Board candidates – Carol Culhane for town supervisor, and Mary Neilans and Richard DeCarlo for councilmen – are challenged by a Democratic Party team including Patrick Swiercznski for town supervisor, and Bill Lattin and Pete Toenniessen for councilmen. Ron Mannella is unopposed for highway superintendent and is running with five political party lines.


It’s quiet in the Kendall town elections with the candidates all unopposed, including Anthony Cammarata for town supervisor, Barbara Flow and Margaret Lynn Szozda for Town Council, and Warren Kruger for highway superintendent.


The candidates are all unopposed including John Morriss for town supervisor, and Lloyd Christ and Edwin Bower for councilmen.


Town Supervisor Brian Napoli and Town Justice Joseph Kujawa are unopposed. Three people are seeking two spots on the Town Board, including Mary Woodruff and Sarah Fisher, who have the Republican line. Incumbent Paul Blajszczak is running under the independent “Badger Party.”

The big race in Shelby is for highway superintendent, with incumbent Michael Fuller challenged by Ed Houseknecht, the former county highway superintendent and Medina Department of Public Works superintendent. Fuller has the Republican, Independence and Reform party lines, while Houseknecht is backed by the Conservative Party.

The other Shelby candidates are unopposed, including Merle “Skip” Draper for town supervisor; Kenneth Schaal, Jr. and Dale Stalker for Town Council; Dawn Keppler for town justice; and Darlene Rich for town clerk.

After winning a close Republican primary for town supervisor, incumbent John Belson faces a write-in campaign from Jim Simon. There is also a three-way contest for two town council positions. Wesley Bradley and John Riggi are backed by the Republican Party and Glenn Maid is running with the Conservative Party. Town Clerk Michele Harling and Highway Superintendent Roger Wolfe are unopposed.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.