Voters have choices for most county positions on Election Day

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 November 2013 at 12:00 am

Republicans have big advantage in numbers

Photo by Tom Rivers – Legislature Chairman David Callard is unopposed for another two-year term as legislator. There are races for the six other legislator seats.

Tomorrow is decision day for Orleans County residents. They will go to the polls to decide the leaders of town and county governments. The polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

In recent years, most of the candidates for county offices have been unopposed. But this year many of the races are contested, especially for county Legislature, where six of the seven legislator seats have two candidates.

The Legislature in February voted to transfer the nursing home to a local development corporation. The LDC was given the mission of finding a buyer for the site.

The move to sell the 120-bed nursing home stirred the passions of many community members, including candidates who want to stop the sale. Four candidates are running under an independent “Save Our Nursing Home” line.

Republicans have been dominant in recent years. Every elected county position is currently filled by a Republican. A Democrat has not held an elected county position since Gary Kent of Albion served on the Legislature in 2008 and 2009.

Republicans have a nearly 2 to 1 enrollment edge over Democrats, 10,397 to 5,573. There are 4,730 “blanks” or unaffiliated voters, plus 1,058 members of the Independence Party. Other party enrollment figures include 518 Conservatives, 160 members of the Working Families Party, 46 in the Green Party and 23 Libertarians. There are 22,505 registered voters in the county.

Here is a list of candidates for the county offices:

There are three county-wide legislator positions, with each requiring a legislator to live in the east end, central and west end of the county, respectively. George Bower of Holley has served in one of the spots for about two decades. But he is retiring.

Republicans endorsed Clarendon Town Councilman John DeFilipps for the two-year position. Democrats backed former Kendall Town Supervisor Jonathan “Jack” Gillman for the spot. He also has the “Save Our Nursing Home” line.

DeFilipps and all of the Republican candidates for Legislature have the Independence Party line.

In the countywide legislator position, central, the race again pits incumbent Republican Don Allport versus Kent. This is the fourth time they are facing each other. Allport has won the last two elections after Kent defeated him in November 2007.

Kent has been a loud advocate for keeping the nursing home in county ownership. Allport is the only Republican for Legislature that secured the Conservative Party endorsement.

Like Gillman and two other candidates – Linda Rak and Emil Smith – Kent has the independent Nursing Home line.

In the other county-wide position, this one on the western end, Legislature Chairman David Callard in unopposed.

In the district seats, there are races for every position.

Republican Bill Eick currently represents District 1, which includes the towns of Barre, Clarendon and most of Shelby. He is being challenged by Emil Smith, who has the Nursing Home line and Conservative Party support.

In District 2, Republican incumbent Lynne Johnson is challenged by Linda Rak, who is backed by the Conservative Party and also has the Nursing Home line. The district includes the towns of Ridgeway and Yates and a portion of Shelby.

District 3 includes the towns of Albion and Gaines. Republican Henry Smith is challenged by Fred Miller, who is backed by the Democrats and Conservatives. Miller is a current trustee on the Albion Village Board.

District 4 will have a new legislator because Ken Rush is retiring as the representative for the towns of Carlton, Kendall and Murray. Republicans endorsed Ken DeRoller for the position. He is vying against David Schult, who is endorsed by the Democrats and Conservatives.

County Treasurer Susan Heard and County Clerk Karen Lake-Maynard are unopposed in their re-election bids for four-year terms.