By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong
At least three candidates will be chasing two open seats on the Philipstown Town Board this fall. Robert Flaherty and Judy Farrell, both Democratic incumbents, will campaign to return to the board after the November election; they will be challenged by Christopher Lyons, who will appear on the Republican Party line of the ballot.
Town Clerk Tina Merando, a Republican seeking her fifth, 4-year term, will also have a challenger: Tara Percacciolo, a Democrat who is secretary for the town’s Planning, Conservation and Zoning boards. Merando, who was deputy town clerk for a decade before being elected town clerk in 2003, defeated Ann McGrath-Gallagher in 2015 with 55 percent of the vote.
Supervisor Richard Shea and Highway Superintendent Carl Frisenda, both Democrats, will not have Republican challengers. Shea is seeking his sixth, 2-year term and Frisenda his second, 4-year term. Town Justice Stephen Tomann also will run unopposed as a Republican for his seventh, 4-year term. Tomann has not had an opponent since winning the position in a three-way race in 1995.
Farrell was appointed to the Town Board in January to complete the term of Nancy Montgomery, who was elected to the Putnam County Legislature. Flaherty also joined the Town Board by appointment, in 2015, to fill a vacancy created when Dave Merandy was elected as Cold Spring’s mayor. Flaherty was elected that fall to a full, 4-year term.
In Putnam County, District Attorney Robert Tendy, a Republican elected in 2015, will have no Democratic opponent, but Legislator Carl Albano, who represents Carmel and parts of Lake Carmel and Patterson and is seeking his fourth, 3-year term, will face a challenge from Democrat Rebecca Swan. Republicans Paul Jonke, who represents Southeast, and Neal Sullivan, who represents Carmel and Mahopac, will not face Democratic challengers for their second terms.
To appear on the November ballot, every candidate running on a party line had to meet an April 4 state deadline for filing nominating petitions. That’s earlier than in the past because the state Legislature this year passed a law that scheduled local, state and federal primary elections for the same day in June. In the past, federal primaries took place in June and local and state primaries in September.
Because none of the Philipstown or Putnam County candidates are being challenged by a fellow party member, there will not be a primary in June for those positions.
In Cold Spring, where the election is non-partisan, candidates have until May 28 to file nominating petitions with the county Board of Elections. (Until this year, the village held its elections in March.) Dave Merandy has said he will seek a third, 2-year term, as have incumbent Trustees Fran Murphy and Marie Early, who are also running for their third terms. Former Trustee Chuck Hustis said he plans to challenge Merandy, who defeated Alison Anthoine in 2017 in a close race.
At the federal level, although the election will not take place until November 2020, Republican Chele Farley announced plans this week to run to represent the 18th District in the House of Representatives, a seat held by Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney. Farley, who vowed on Facebook to fight the “wave of socialism that is taking over Washington,” challenged Kirsten Gillibrand last year for her Senate seat but lost by a wide margin.