Primary results: Clenahan takes two small parties

The Enterprise — Michael Koff
Bryan Clenahan awaits results at July’s Guilderland Democratic caucus where he won the party line.

GUILDERLAND — With low turnout in Thursday’s primary for Guilderland town judge, Bryan Clenahan bested Christine Napierski, securing both the Independence and Women’s Equality party lines for the Nov. 6 election. Napierski said on Friday that she will continue in the race.

Napierski, who has the Conservative Party line, faces an uphill battle to keep her job as judge since Clenahan secured the Democratic line at a hotly contested caucus on July 26. The Republicans have backed Stephen Chesley.

Both and Napierski ClenahanBoth are enrolled Democrats.

had 95 Independence Party votes (53.07 percent) to Napierski’s 81 votes (45.25 percent). There were also 3 write-in votes for others. Guilderland has 1,279 residents enrolled in the Independence Party, ClenahanWith all 30 of Guilderland election districts reporting Thursday night by 10:20 p.m., meaning  about 14 percent voted in the primary.

Only one Guilderland voter cast a ballot in the Women’s Equality Party Primary, and that was for Clenahan. Seven Guilderland voters are enrolled in the Women’s Equality Party, meaning, again, a 14-percent participation rate.

These tallies are unofficial results from the Albany County Board of Elections.

Napierski has worked for 25 years as a trial attorney in the area of civil liability, defending cases that include automobile negligence, medical malpractice, and municipal liability, and is a founding partner in an Albany law firm, Napierski, VanDenburgh, Napierski & O’Connor.

“Oh yes, we’re going to continue,” said Napierski on Friday, adding that she was disappointed that she didn’t win but was also encouraged by the close vote.

She pointed out that the difference between getting the Democratic and Independence parties’ endorsements was just 35 votes — 21 votes at the caucus in July and 14 votes at the Sept. 13 primary.

“Because both of these votes have been so close, it encourages me to go forward, because I know people are glad to have a choice,” she said.

Her plan is to “work even harder, and get more votes next time,” she said.

Clenahan, an Albany County legislator representing part of Guilderland, works as counsel to Diane Savino, a Democratic senator from Long Island. For the town of Guilderland, he has worked as town prosecutor, assistant town attorney, and zoning-board attorney; his mother-in-law is a Guilderland town judge.

Clenahan said on Friday, “The Independence Party has always stood for good government, ethics, and transparency, and I was very proud to have their endorsement, and more proud to have their line.”

He added, “The Women’s Equality Party — I’m very excited to have that line. One of their biggest priorities is pay equity, and that’s been an issue that I’ve been working on, on the state and county level for years; it’s been a real priority, so having their endorsement and now their line, it’s really an honor.”

Napierski had begun working in April as one of three Guilderland town justices, having been unanimously appointed to the post by the Guilderland Town Board following the resignation of Richard Sherwood, who later pleaded guilty to felony grand larceny, money laundering, and tax fraud.

On Sept. 13, the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department issued a decision disbarring Sherwood, effective retroactively to the date of his guilty plea; by law, an attorney who is convicted of — or pleads guilty to — a felony is automatically disbarred.

Fourteen lawyers, including Clenahan and Chesley, had applied for the post.

Guilderland is dominated — both in elected officials and in voter enrollment — by Democrats.  Forty percent of Guilderland voters are enrolled as Democrats, 25 percent as Republicans, 7 percent in small parties — and 28 percent are not affiliated with any party.

In June, the Guilderland Democratic committee endorsed Clenahan, spurring Napierski and her supporters to mount a campaign to get the Democratic nod.

She and Eugene Napierski, her father and law-firm partner, filed a suit in federal court, seeking a temporary injunction to stop the Democratic caucus, alleging the caucus was designed to favor the committee’s candidate and stating Democrats had told Napierski she would never be elected to public office in Guilderland if she did not withdraw her candidacy.

The suit also argued that the caucus site, Tawasentha Park, was not accessible to voters with handicaps like Eugene Napierski, who suffers from a neurologic disorder. The judge allowed the caucus to proceed with stipulations to accommodate people with handicaps.

Clenahan won the caucus by 21 votes; the tally was 153 to 132 — meaning about 3 percent of the town’s Democrats participated in the process.



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