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Hilltown Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, September 16, 2010

Bolte hopes for GOP line after securing Independence in primary

By Zach Simeone

RENSSELAERVILLE — In Tuesday night’s primary election, Conservative Robert Bolte got the Independence line in the town board race against Dale Dorner, the incumbent Democrat. And after being rescheduled twice, the Republican caucus on Friday will determine whether a third opponent will enter the race.

According to unofficial results from the Albany County Board of Elections, Bolte secured the Independence line with 16 votes, or 69.57 percent. There were also seven write-in votes, making up nearly a third of the total vote. Bolte is also the town’s Conservative chairman, and already has the Conservative line.

Dorner opposed Bolte in the primary election as a write-in candidate with an opportunity to ballot petition, though the county’s election commissioners did not return phone calls to identify whether any of the seven write-in votes were for Dorner.

“I think the people are getting tired of the votes in our town hall going like they go — against our highway department or whatever,” Bolte told The Enterprise Tuesday, “and everything just being political, instead of just being what’s right.”

Bolte refers to recent disagreements between the majority of the town board and Highway Superintendent Gary Zeh over his need for new trucks [see related story], and a history of town board members voting along party lines.

Dorner could not be reached for comment after the primary elections, but Councilman John Kudlack, also the town’s Democratic chairman, is still confident.

“We’re just going to get out there and campaign a little harder, and do what we’ve got to do,” Kudlack said Tuesday.

In an off year for town elections, one town board seat is open because Marie Dermody, formerly a councilwoman, was elected supervisor last November, taking office on Jan. 1. Democrats outnumber Republicans by nearly 3-to-1 in Rensselaerville, and the town board reflected that ratio after the November elections.

Bolte, who ran with both Conservative and Republican backing, came in close third in a four-way race for two seats; incumbent Democrat Sherri Pine garnered the fewest votes.

At its Jan. 1 re-organizational meeting, the four-member town board voted unanimously to appoint Dorner — a Democratic newcomer to politics — to fill Dermody’s vacant seat. Now, Dorner will be backed by the Democrats to hold her post on the board.

GOP caucus

The Republicans originally wanted to hold their caucus on Aug. 23 at the Preston Hollow firehouse, but scheduling conflicts with the fire department forced them to reschedule the event for Aug. 31.

“There were some glitches with how it was handled, and we were afraid that it might be void, so we decided to reschedule,” said interim GOP Chairman Michael Weber after the caucus was cancelled a second time. “It had to do with the dating. It might have gotten by, but then again, you don’t know.”

Weber was elected assessor in November, and plans on chairing the town’s Republican Party at least until the November election.

The Republican caucus is now set to take place at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 17, at the firehouse.

The GOP also had problems with last year’s caucus. After the Republicans caucused last year, the Democrats inspected the documentation containing the results of that caucus, which were found to be faulty by the county board of elections. Myra Dorman, a Republican and former town supervisor, said then that it was declared a “mis-caucus.”

Weber has said that it has been difficult to find a Republican candidate because the GOP in town is very fragmented.

“It’s hard to get people to do this,” Weber said of getting involved in town politics. He had said earlier that, although former Republican Supervisor Jost Nickelsberg planned to nominate Bolte for town board, Weber would prefer a Republican.

“They have busy lives, but what’s really at the heart of it is, they don’t realize how important it is,” he went on. “It always seems that there are a minority of people that participate and run everything. There’s a saying, ‘The best way for bad things to happen is for good men to do nothing,’ and it’s too bad.”

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