Conservative line for November still unknown in New Scotland

NEW SCOTLAND  — A very close primary vote on Tuesday for two candidates to appear on the Conservative line in the November general election is yet to be determined. Candidates will have to wait until Tuesday, Sept. 19, when absentee votes will be counted, to know who will appear on the Conservative line in the fall election.  

Two precincts experienced problems when some ballots could not be scanned and counted by the voting machine. Those ballots were picked up by Matthew Clyne, Democratic commissioner of the Albany Board of Elections, and will be hand-counted — the votes on the ballots have not been added to the unofficial election results.

Clyne said that there were two Conservative ballots that could not be scanned; and 47 Democratic ballots that could not be scanned.

Town Supervisor Douglas LaGrange is not surprised that there may be problems with the ballots. “It seems like in the past, ever since these paper ballots were started, it seems like there’s always been something that was little askew or needed to be redone,” he said on Wednesday. “So, it’s not unusual.”

The unofficial election results have incumbent Democrat Adam Greenberg with 29 votes; 29 write-in votes, as yet unannounced; and Democrat Dan Leinung, making his first run, with 25 votes. Republican Craig Shufelt petitioned for an opportunity to ballot so Conservative voters could write in his name. In 2015, Shufelt received 27 of 28 write-in votes.

Richard Stack, chairman of the Albany County Conservative Party, said that there had been strong turnout, and that “probably about 40 percent came out.” New Scotland has 211 enrolled Conservative voters.

Stack said that there are 13 absentee ballots, of which seven are in. Stack said, “It will come down to how those absentees vote as to who prevails, overall.”

Greenberg did not want to comment “until I know what the final count even is; I think that is unclear.”

Leinung also wanted to see how the absentee votes came out, he said, “There’s some absentee ballots still out; I look forward to seeing those and what the count is. It’s definitely very close.”

Shufelt said that he went through the same thing two years ago as a write-in candidate, so he’s going to wait until the absentee ballots are counted as well.

The Conservative Line

The top two vote-getters in the primary will have their names appear on the Conservative line in the general election.

Asked about his party preference for the Conservative line — Democrat or Republican — in the general election, Stack said, “My only preference is for those people on the ballot who came forward and interviewed.”

Stack said the Republicans never went through the vetting process to have their candidate’s name appear on the Conservative line in the general election. Both Democratic candidates did.

Shufelt responded through The Enterprise that the New Scotland GOP did not know the deadline, or when the interviews would be held.

Asked how they will get their message across to the 211 registered Conservatives in New Scotland over the next couple of months, the candidates emphasized the personal connection.

Leinung said he reached out to neighbors who are registered with the Conservative Party and asked them to vote. He plans to build on that outreach for the general election. He said, “Direct involvement with people, having a face-to-face conversation with people is important, it lets them put a face to the name on the ballot. That interpersonal connection is important. And for the general I plan on doing a lot more.”

Greenberg said, “I wouldn’t distinguish along party lines … I treat voters and their interests one-by-one, and it’s not like every Democrat thinks exactly the same, and that’s why we have Democratic primaries. And it’s not like every Conservative voter thinks the same; that’s why we have Conservative primaries. It depends on the individual you are speaking with.”

Greenberg did point out a major issue for Conservative voters that he feels he has done well on  — taxes. He said he is “proud of our record on taxes in town, which we have kept as low as anyone else’s in Albany County.”

Shufelt is cautious about the general election. He says being on two lines, the Conservative and Republican, will give him a stronger campaign than two years ago. When his opponent, Greenberg, appeared on three lines —  Democrat, Conservative, and Independence Party — and won.

Updated on Sept. 14, 2017: Matthew Clyne’s explanation of the problem with ballots in two precincts was added.

More New Scotland News

  • During a recent public hearing on the village’s proposed local law that would have Voorheesville opt out of both retail sales of marijuana and on-site consumption, the board of trustees heard very little in the way of agreement for its proposal. 

  • During the November village board meeting, Steve Schreiber, chairman of the grassroots Committee for a Quiet Zone in Voorheesville, voiced concern with how the project has stalled since an August update.

  • On Election Night, three of the four incumbent New Scotland Democrats facing Republican challengers were still facing uncertain futures as a number of absentee ballots had yet to be counted. But the Democrats breathed a collective sigh of relief on Nov. 17 after the release of the absentee-ballot counts. However, the recanvass results recently released by the Albany County Board of Elections should give Democrats pause as they show that Republicans — there are six for every 10 Democrats in town — are becoming more competitive.

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.