Absentee ballots will decide it; incumbent trustees re-elected
By Michael Turton
Cold Spring voters will have to wait a bit longer to learn who their next mayor will be. When the polls closed March 21, incumbent Mayor Dave Merandy led challenger Alison Anthoine by 22 votes, 369 to 347. Absentee ballots, which will be counted in Carmel on Tuesday, March 28, will determine the winner.
Catherine Croft, the Democratic commissioner for the Putnam County Board of Elections, said that 60 absentee ballots were issued and 40 had been received by Election Day. She said that any ballots the board receives must have been postmarked on or before
Monday, March 20, and received by the seventh day after the election (March 28) to be valid.
The tally is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the Board of Elections office. To become mayor, Anthoine will need to win the absentee vote by a wide margin.
In the race for two open trustee seats on the five-member board, incumbents Fran Murphy and Marie Early topped the polls with 487 and 398 votes, respectively. Challenger and first-time candidate Peggy Schatzle received 327 votes. There were 70 write-in votes, but Frank Haggerty, who campaigned as a write-in, won’t know his vote total until March 28 when they are counted manually with the absentee ballots.
Thomas Costello, who ran unopposed to return to the bench for his fourth term as Cold Spring village justice, received 478 votes. Ten write-in votes were cast.
Just after officials announced the vote count at the Cold Spring firehouse, Anthoine approached Merandy, shook his hand and said, “I concede, Dave.” But she quickly realized she had overlooked the absentee ballots.
While Merandy declined to comment, Anthoine said she was “thrilled I made it this far. There’s never been anyone who wasn’t at least a second-generation ‘Springer’ elected mayor and I’m within 22 votes.”
The first-time candidate said she ran “to bridge the gap between various factions” in the village and she felt her campaign achieved that. “I didn’t know what to expect; I was a novice at campaigning, at understanding the passions of the community,” she said. “I’ve learned an awful lot, including about some of the divisiveness I wasn’t fully aware of.”
Fran Murphy said she was glad the election is over and expressed gratitude for being elected to a second term. “I think people like me and trust me and I think that makes a difference,” she said. “I’m all for getting the facts and some people were just throwing stuff out there without the facts. It annoys me when people try to influence the election by doing that.”
Regarding the close race for mayor, she said, “I’ve worked with Dave for two years and enjoy working with him very much. But if Alison wins, I’ll work with Alison.”
“The job we did in the last two years was a compelling argument to vote for us,” said Marie Early, also elected to her second term. Asked if she felt the federal lawsuit filed against the village by Butterfield developer Paul Guillaro and naming Merandy six days before the election was a factor in the mayor’s race, she responded, “I think it had a significant effect.”
Although he received at most 70 votes, Frank Haggerty said he took some satisfaction from the results. “I largely accomplished what I wanted to achieve,” he said, which was “to get the papers to publish my information, get people to read it and understand it and discuss it. People indicated they voted for me based on what I wrote.”
He also commented that a write-in campaign (this was his second attempt) isn’t the most effective way to get elected.
Peggy Schatzle was at the firehouse for the vote count but left soon after and attempts to reach her the next day for comment were not successful.
The election marked the end of Cold Spring’s tradition of voting in March. Beginning in 2018 the village will go to the polls in November, at the same time as state and national elections.