Van Tassel, Leonard and Erickson vie for two Town Board member slots
By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong
Philipstown Supervisor Richard Shea appears poised for an easy ride into another two-year term, running unopposed on the ballot in the Nov. 5 general election. With no contestants for supervisor from the Republicans, Conservatives or any other official party, he only faces the possibility of write-in candidates as foes on the ballot.
Three candidates are competing for two Town Board councilor or general member posts. They are Democrats Michael Leonard, a veteran of the Town Planning Board, and Councilor John Van Tassel, who won his first term in 2009; and Republican Lee Erickson, who is also running on the Independence Party line.
Shea, Van Tassel and Leonard likewise are running as Team Philipstown, which filed nominating papers for a slate of candidates as independents before the recent deadline this month, according to the Putnam County Board of Elections. So-called independent candidates from ad hoc groups such as Team Philipstown differ from candidates from the Independence Party, an official party organization.
No elections for town justice positions or other town offices occur this year.
However, current Putnam County Sheriff Donald Smith and challenger Kevin McConville will do battle in the Sept. 10 Republican primary. [See Smith Believes Record Justifies Another Term, and McConville Seeks to Unseat Smith as Sheriff, both from Aug. 7.]
Smith is also running as the Independence Party primary candidate, while McConville is on the Conservative Party primary ballot. Although the sole names on the Independence and Conservative ballots, respectively, Smith and McConville can be subjected to write-in efforts at the primary polls to nibble away at their Conservative or Independence support. A county Board of Elections official said Aug. 27 that petitions seeking the “opportunity to ballot” had been filed, clearing the way for write-ins.
The Board of Elections official identified the “opportunity to ballot” organizers as Ian Miller, regarding the Independence Party primary, and Pat Perry, regarding the Conservative Party voting. She said that although she could disclose their names, under longstanding Putnam County Board of Elections policy she could not give their addresses or reveal their hometowns.
Addresses and town of residency can only be divulged through filing of a formal Freedom of Information request, she said, acknowledging that while such data is public information, the county elections office does not allow it to be readily released. Neither Miller nor Perry seems to be a Philipstown resident, or at least not a Philipstown property owner, since a search of the official 2013 tax roll for Philipstown did not turn up either name.