Pokorny leads Grippo by 27 votes, Knox incumbents re-elected

KNOX — Knox Democrat Russell Pokorny has a lead of 27 votes in the race for supervisor over his Republican-backed opponent, Kregg Grippo, in the unofficial election results, which don’t count absentee ballots. Those same results suggest that the Republican incumbents up for election are staying put.

Altogether, Pokorny received 474 votes to Grippo’s 447 — a 51-to-48 percent split.

Incumbent town board members Karl Pritchard and Ken Saddlemire each have significant leads over challenger Brigitte McAuliffe, who was running on her own Accountability Party line but was endorsed by the Democrats, who put up only two candidates this year. 

McAuliffe received 228 votes, or about 16 percent, while Pritchard and Saddlemire received 596 and 632 votes, respectively. 

Pritchard and Saddlemire each ran on both the Conservative and Republican lines, although Saddlemire is enrolled as a Democrat and Pritchard is not enrolled in a party. Both men had originally run on a slate with Supervisor Vasilios Lefkaditis, who did not seek re-election.

Town clerk Traci Schanz received 525 votes to Democrat Deborah Liddle’s 405 votes — a 56-to-44 percent split. 

The Enterprise could not reach Grippo for comment, but did speak with Pokorny at the Octagon Barn, which he co-owns with his wife, Amy Pokorny, after the polls closed. 

Amy Pokorny ran unsuccessfully against Lefkaditis for supervisor in 2017, at which time she was on the town board. Two years later, Russell Pokorny, a former Knox assessor, also ran unsuccessfully against Lefkaditis.

Although the Pokornys didn’t have official results yet, Russell Pokorny — when asked what his reaction would be if he won — reiterated the goals he laid out for his term in a candidate interview he did with The Enterprise last month, particularly about making the town more hospitable to those who want to criticize the government or offer alternative ideas.

“You can say anything you want [during town board public comment periods],” Pokorny said, “but you only have three minutes, and often you don’t get a response to what you said.”

Perhaps the most frequent criticism The Enterprise has heard about outgoing supervisor Lefkaditis since his re-election in 2019 has been around his treatment of dissidents, which can at times be brusque, particularly when viewed in contrast with those he considers friends. 

McAuliffe, who often attends town board meetings and nearly always speaks during public-comment periods, is a regular target of that disdain. 

Pokorny also said that he would make sure that the town’s finances are properly managed, referring to Lefkaditis’s persistently late or absent annual update document filings, which are reports submitted by municipalities to the New York State Comptroller each year.

Grippo, who had not been involved in town government, has a history of financial mismanagement, court records show. He was backed by Lefkaditis, which may be why he garnered so many votes in a town were voter registration skews Democratic.

More Hilltowns News

  • Kayleigh Reynolds-Flynn has been riding horses since she was born.

  • Before the Berne Town Board appointed resident Donna Ferraino as the town’s dog-control officer, Councilman Leo Vane, in addition to calling the non-partisan office a “political position,” indicated that former DCO Jodi Jansen had resigned over “political issues,” which contradicts what Supervisor Sean Lyons told The Enterprise about Jansen’s resignation earlier this year.

  • Municipalities have until Dec. 31 to request that the New York State Cannabis Control Board prohibit marijuana dispensaries and consumption sites from establishing themselves within each municipality’s respective borders. So far, only two of the four Hilltowns have initiated public conversation on the matter.

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.