Wood, Bates carry Rensselaerville Town Board election, justice race too close to call

Randall Bates

RENSSELAERVILLE — While the winners of the town board race in Rensselaerville — incumbent Brian Wood and former highway superintendent Randall Bates — are enjoying major leads over Patricia Byrnes, the justice race is too close to call based on unofficial results.

Richard Tollner, a Republican, is trailing incumbent Democrat Greg Bischoff by just three points — 260-to-263. 

When reached, Tollner told The Enterprise that “close races such as this remind us all” that every vote counts.

Wood and Bates, meanwhile, got 466 and 304 votes respectively for two town board seats, to Byrnes’ 227 — a 47-30-22 split, with just two write-ins. Wood was endorsed by the Democratic and Conservative parties, while Bates was endorsed by the Republican and Conservative parties, and Byrnes was endorsed by the Democratic Party.

Byrnes, a sociologist who told The Enterprise last month that she wanted to bring a female perspective to the otherwise all-male board, wrote in an email on Election Night that she felt her presence would have been a benefit to the town board, and intends to be at meetings as an audience member more frequently.

“What I would have brought to the residents (of all parties) of Rensselaerville Town will never see the light of day under Randy Bates,” she said in an email to The Enterprise on Election Night. “A great loss for women, families, and youth (rising new voters) and how they are represented. I will be analyzing how it is, in the 21st century, that a town board can be exclusively male. 

“Needless to say, I will make a point of being in the audience of every town board meeting henceforth. And I will bring friends, both young and old, to fight for what’s needed. This is what democracy is.” 

Bates told The Enterprise in a campaign interview that he ran because he “continue[s] to have interest in the town, and I have a lot of experience.” 

One issue he felt strongly about back when he was with the highway department, and which was highlighted with the recent flooding that closed a town road last month, is the state of the town’s infrastructure.

“We use the term ‘hardening the infrastructure,’” he said of the concept of reinforcing things like roads and so on, “and I think instead of hardening, I think we need to reimagine it.”

Wood, who said he dislikes politics but feels the town is healthy with the current makeup of the board, told The Enterprise in a text on Election Night that he was thankful for the voters’ support.

“It looks as tho we will continue to have a smooth running board but I expected that with who ever got elected,” he wrote. “I’ll work hard for 4 more years.”

Rensselaerville, according to the Albany County Board of Elections, has 1,455 enrolled voters: 595 Democrats, 373 Republicans, 63 Conservatives, 6 Working Families Party members, and 3 Green Party members. The remaining 415 are not enrolled in a party.

More Hilltowns News

  • Patrick Corbett is accused of stealing “an ATV, a keyboard, night vision binoculars, hunting equipment with apparel, two safes that contained a total of 6 guns, over 3,000 rounds of ammunition, and several other items,” according to Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple. 

  • Incumbent Rensselaerville Justice Gregory Bischoff won re-election by only nine votes, trailed by his Republican opponent, Richard Tollner. Although the Albany County Board of Election has released its official general election results, some ballots have been sent back to voters to be cured of any defects, and the final total for the Rensselaerville justice race won’t be known until the end of the month. 

  • Nearly a month after Election Night, the Rensselaerville justice race votes have been finalized, securing incumbent Gregory Bischoff as the winner by a margin of just nine votes over his opponent, Republican Richard Tollner. 

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