Crawford will face no challengers for Bohl’s vacated seat

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff
Douglas Breakell, left, looks at 2019 Election Night results with Albany County Legislator Mark Grimm. Breakell said the GOP, without a candidate for the 2022 election, will focus on next year’s town board elections.

GUILDERLAND — The GOP won’t be putting up a candidate for election in November to fill the remainder of Laurel Bohl’s vacated Guilderland Town Board seat. That means the Democrats’ choice, Jacob Crawford, will be unchallenged.

The Guilderland Republican Committee Chairman Douglas Breakell emailed The Enterprise on Wednesday night as the Republicans were meeting: “The Albany County Republican committee at the recommendation of the Guilderland Republican committee has nominated William Toffenetti as our town board candidate for the upcoming November Election,” he wrote.

But, Toffenetti told The Enterprise on Thursday that, after a sleepless night, he’d called Breakell to say it wasn’t a fit and he wouldn’t be running after all.

Toffenetti said the vote had been unanimous on Wednesday night when 10 or so Republicans met in a Delmar home.

“Some people were having conversations with him and I guess he did not agree with them,” Breakell said of Toffenetti. “He’s still entitled to his opinion but it started getting out of line … of where the party stood.”

According to the state’s Election Law, July 28 is the last day for filing a nomination through a town caucus as well as the last day to file a certificate of nomination to fill a vacancy.

“We’d have to do an official meeting again,” Breakell told The Enterprise on Thursday, the deadline day. “And I can’t get everyone together in time … The other candidates had kind of reconsidered.”

Breakell said he would not share their names until next year.

Because of the timing of Bohl’s resignation on July 12, Breakell said, “We had that short window … We were moving forward and, on the last day, we are no longer going to have a candidate. We will focus on next year, on the town board races.”

Asked about Brian Sheridan, a Guilderland pediatrician who made a strong run on the GOP line for a town board seat last November, Breakell said, “Brian Sheridan will always have a future … He’s a great candidate, as you know, the voters certainly showed in the last election.”

Last November, Sheridan had more Republican votes than Amanda Beedle, who secured a seat, had Democratic votes. Beedle won with Conservative votes while the Republicans had no small-party lines.

Not quite half of Guilderland’s roughly 23,000 registered voters are enrolled as Democrats while about a quarter are enrolled as Republicans; more than a quarter are not enrolled or belong to small parties.

All of the current town board members are Democrats.

Democratic committee members met on July 25 and chose Jacob Crawford as their candidate. The voice votes at that meeting clearly showed he was the victor over the only other nominee, Kevin McDonald.

Crawford, once elected, will have to run again in a year to keep his seat.

Sheridan told The Enterprise on Thursday that, while he still might be interested in running for a four-year seat on the town board, he decided not to pursue the seat left vacant by Bohl.

“When I ran the first time, I felt like I was getting into it a little bit late and, being new to it, I wished I had more time,” said Sheridan.

He said of running for Bohl’s seat, “This was just such late notice … So, when I sat and talked to my family, I talked to Doug, it just wasn’t the right time to put something together like this.”

Sheridan concluded, “It wouldn’t be good for the town for me to just rush into it and, you know, be trying to get my message out in such a short amount of time.”

 

Toffenetti

William Toffenetti has lived in Guilderland for 20 years. At 65, he’s been retired for a decade from his job reviewing audits for the state’s health department.

He told The Enterprise on Thursday that he became concerned about doings in town when, on April 7, 2021, he witnessed a man trying to kill himself by jumping in and out of traffic. “The police let him go in 15 minutes,” said Toffenetti, and he believes they could have done more.

Since then, Toffenetti estimates he’s filed 40 Freedom Of Information Law requests with the town, trying, in his view, to solve town problems.

Toffenetti said he had a conversation last year with Randy Bashwinger, Albany County’s GOP committee chairman, and with Breakell about running for town supervisor since the Democratic incumbent, Peter Barber, had no challengers.

“It’s a joke to have this guy run unopposed,” he said. “They just wanted someone to fill the position.”

Because he was considering that run, Toffenetti said, he made FOIL requests to find out more about town government.

At Wednesday night’s GOP meeting, Toffenetti said, “They were complaining that I had sent in an endorsement for Kevin McDonald, who happens to be a very nice person.”

His letter to the Enterprise editor, “McDonald acts as the political conscience of our town,” was published on Oct. 14, 2021 with a response from Barber.

“I didn’t think it was a big conflict …,” said Toffenetti of endorsing McDonald who, after being defeated in the Democratic primary, was running on the Working Families line. “Kevin McDonald was the only one who was focused in, on what was going on in my section of town and with Crossgates and Costco. So I sided with him because I had nowhere else to go.”

Toffenetti lives on East Highland Drive across Route 20 from Stuyvesant Plaza.

He went on about Wednesday’s meeting, “They voted on me unanimously, but they really just weren’t listening to me. So I was very skeptical about the whole process.”

Toffenetti said that, now, he may “go more grassroots.”

He earlier stood in front of the new car wash on Route 20 with a sign protesting the tax breaks it had gotten through the Guilderland Industrial Development Agency and now, he said, he has a red-and-white sign he plans to hold in front of Town Hall, calling for an audit.

Recapping the Wednesday night meeting on Thursday afternoon, Toffenetti said, “What I wanted to do was basically disband the Guilderland Police and show all the problems that I uncovered in the Guilderland town administration.

“I got nominated but, quite honestly, you probably know this: I’m a pretty hard guy to get along with and they were kind of dictating things that I couldn’t do ….

“So I had a restless night’s sleep. And I called Doug and said, ‘I’m not going to do this.’ So that’s where I’m at right now. I’m sitting around all day really disappointed and depressed about the whole situation.

“I want to help. I’m just not a political person … I don’t even know if I’m going to be living here very much longer. I’m so sick and tired of New York State and the town of Guilderland. It’s pretty, pretty sad.”

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