Guilderland Dems make ‘a clean sweep’

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

Jake Crawford, Albany County’s Democratic chairman and the top vote-getter in the Guilderland Town Board race, announces sweeps on Election Night.

“We have a clean sweep,” Dustin Reidy announced “with a great deal of pride” on Election Night.

He was speaking of Guilderland elections as the chairman of the town’s Democratic committee but he was also a victor himself in representing District 30 in the Albany County Legislature.

Hugs and hurrahs filled the packed hall at the Italian American Community Center as Democrats celebrated victories layers deep.

The event was hosted by the county’s Democratic chairman, Jacob Crawford, himself the top vote-getter in the Guilderland Town Board race, along with county Executive Daniel McCoy and Sheriff Craig Apple, both uncontested Democrats.

Family Court Judge Susan Kusher, a Democrat, faced no challengers and neither did the Democratic candidates for county coroner, John Keegan and Kevin Crosier.

County Comptroller Susan Rizzo easily bested her Republican challenger, Jarrar Hussain, and so did the three Democatic candidates running for Supreme Court justice — Richard Rivera, Daniel Lynch, and Sherri Brooks-Morton — beating Dana Salazar on the GOP line.

In Guilderland, all the elected office holders are Democrats and will continue to be.

According to the Albany County Board of Elections, Guilderland has 25,517 enrolled voters: 10,854 are registered as Democrats, 5,685 are registered as Republicans, 597 are Conservatives, 82 are registered in the Working Families Party, and 37 are in the Green Party.

That leaves 8,263 Guilderland voters who are not registered with any political party.

Supervisor Peter Barber won a fifth two-year term with 4,972 Democratic votes and 1,546 Conservative votes, according to unofficial results from the county. There were 111 write-in votes.

Clerk Lynne Buchanan was also unchallenged. She received 5,173 Democratic votes and 1,631 Conservative votes. There were 41 write-in votes.

Robert Haver ran unopposed for highway superintendent, getting 5,082 votes on the Democratic line and 1,632 on the Conservative line, to replace Gregory Wier who is retiring.

The only contests were for town board and town judge.

In the four-way race for two town board seats, Crawford was first with nearly 29 percent of the vote: 4,156 votes were on the Democratic line and 496 were on the Working Families line.

Crawford, who works as an analyst for New York State United Teachers, was appointed to the Guilderland Town Board in August 2022 and was then elected in November, unopposed, to fill the post left vacant when Laurel Bohl resigned in July 2022. He had formerly been Guilderland’s Democratic chairman.

Since his 2022 election, Crawford spent about $21,000, according to the New York State Board of Elections.

Gustavo Santos came in second with about 27 percent of the vote: 3,872 votes were on the Democratic line and 504 on the Working Families line.

Santos, who has a degree in political science from the University at Albany and works as a labor leader with the Public Employees Federation, was making his first run for town office. Born in Honduras, Santos said during an Enterprise candidates’ forum, “I came to this country with 20 cents and I put myself through college without the help of my parents.”

Santos spent about $5,000 on the election, according to the state’s board of elections.

Republican Brian Sheridan came in third with nearly 23 percent of the vote: 2,819 votes on the GOP line and 831 on the Conservative line.

Sheridan, a pediatrician in town, was making his second run for the town board. According to the state’s board of elections, he spent a little over $2,000 since his last election.

Jaime Ralston came in fourth with nearly 21 percent of the vote: 2,584 votes were on the Republican line and 770 were on the Conservative line.

Ralston, making her first run for office, said she came home to Guilderland after graduating from Syracuse University because she wanted to raise her children in town. She works as an advertising account executive for Spectrum Reach.

The state’s board of elections lists Ralston as having expenditures of $1,276.77.

As Election Day drew closer, fliers from both major parties became more pointed. After the Friends of Jake Crawford put out a flier picturing Senator Charles Schumer on the phone with the caption “Chuck Schumer is calling on you to support Jake Crawford for Guilderland Town Board,” the NY Republican State committee sent a flier picturing that flier and other Democratic fliers, saying, “Some candidates are only seeking the endorsement of Washington and Albany politicians and Special Interest groups …”

The Albany County Democratic Committee mailed a flier with a picture of Donald Trump driving a clown car — packed with GOP leaders in red clown noses — captioned “Don’t bring the DC circus to our town.” It also said, “Guilderland’s MAGA slate wants to bring Trump’s extreme agenda to our town” and listed book bans, election deniers, restricting rights, and conspiracy theories.

The NY Republican State committee countered with a flier picturing a cartoon of a 19th-Century plump, cigar-smoking “party boss” and stated, “Political party bosses should not seek public office.” The flier pictured Crawford on the other side and asserted, “A vote for Jake Crawford would be a vote for political donors and special interest groups.”

The judge’s race did not involve such posturing.

The victor was Margaret Tabak. Her flier, paid for by the Committee to Elect Margaret Tabak, said she was “ready for the job on her very first day” and listed her credentials as a Court Attorney Referee, her 35 years as a practicing attorney, and her proficiency as a trained mediator.

The state’s board of elections reports that, since Stephen Chesley last ran for Guilderland town justice in 2019, he has spent $136.50.

Tabak got over 60 percent of the vote to Chesley’s nearly 40 percent. Tabak got 4,412 votes on the Democratic line and 526 on the Working Families line while Chesley garnered 2,459 on the GOP line and 795 on the conservative line.

In his race for a second term representing Westmere in the county legislature, Reidy said he enjoyed the competition.

He was challenged by Republican Peter Hubbard, a lifelong Guilderland resident who works as a corrections officer at the facility in Coxsackie and at the same time, for 18 years, has worked in investments and life insurance.

Hubbard garnered nearly 35 percent of the vote while Reidy got 65 percent. Reidy got 835 Democratic votes and 109 on the Working Families line while Hubbard received 499 votes on the GOP line.

“I think having competition is healthy for democracy,” said Reidy. “I was excited to have someone run.”

Most of the county legislative seats were unchallenged. Reidy attributed this to the Democrats running Albany County “very successfully” just as they do the town of Guilderland, he said.

“While having Rosemary retire is a loss,” he said of Councilwoman Rosemary Centi, “we have a great group of board members.”

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