By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
RAVENA — The town’s Republican committee is no longer supporting the candidacy of village trustee candidate Caitlin Appleby, who drew nominations from both major parties at their January caucuses.
A billboard posted on Route 9W and social media posts voice GOP support for mayoral candidate Dominic Ruggeri and trustee candidate Barbara Tanner, but left out trustee candidate Caitlin Appleby, who was nominated by the party at its caucus Jan. 24.
Appleby, a registered Republican, garnered 21 votes from GOP voters at the caucus. Tanner received 27, and Democrat Linda Muller received 9.
Town of Coeymans Republican Committee Chairman Joel Coye acknowledged that Appleby was nominated by the caucus but said her attendance at the caucus was unanticipated.
“She [Appleby] seized an opportunity on a vacant spot for the village trustee because we did not have another candidate to run,” Coye said. “She had shown up at the caucus unbeknownst to us to get the line. She had not expressed any prior interest in the line until that night.”
Under New York state law, any individual registered within a political party may nominate a candidate at that party’s caucus. Appleby was nominated by Republican Mayor Bill Misuraca, who lost the GOP nomination to Ruggeri the same night.
There are two open spots on the village board in the March elections and a three-way trustee race between Appleby — who was also nominated by the Democratic Party the following day — Republican Barbara Tanner and Democrat Linda Muller.
After the January caucus, Appleby posed for photos with the other Republican candidates, but said she has not heard anything from the committee since that day.
“I have not received an email, a response online, a phone call, nothing,” Appleby said. “It has been radio silent on this end. And I have attempted to reach out several times, so I don’t understand what is going on, quite honestly.”
“I haven’t heard a single thing from any of them since Monday, Jan. 24, the day of the caucus,” she added.
Though the Republican Committee is no longer supporting Appleby’s candidacy, her name will appear on the ballot March 15 on both the Republican and Democratic party lines. Coye said the GOP will focus on getting its other two candidates elected.
“The two candidates that we were focusing on were Dominic Ruggeri and Barbara Tanner. They were the ones that we were going with and unfortunately she [Appleby] has not agreed with our party lines and has been openly campaigning for the other side,” Coye said. “Unfortunately, we don’t agree with their policies, so therefore we are just focusing on Dominic [Ruggeri] and Barbara [Tanner]. We wish her [Appleby] the best of luck and hope she will continue to do well with what she does, but we are focusing on the two that do align with our party’s philosophies.”
Appleby asked how Coye could question her political stance on policy when he hasn’t spoken with her about it.
“I don’t understand how he can even say that when he hasn’t even talked to me about my policy beliefs,” Appleby said. “How can you say that when you have never even spoken to me? That kind of upsets me because how can you exclude somebody when you haven’t even heard their side?”
According to Coye, Appleby’s campaigning with the Democrats brought her philosophy into question.
“Being that she has aligned herself with the current team of the Democratic Party right now and we believe in fiscal conservatism — we believe that lower taxes would be better for village residents,” Coye said.
Appleby agreed taxes “absolutely have to be under control,” and said she has campaigned with the Democrats because they supported her candidacy from the start.
“They reached out to me the day after the caucus asking what I needed in terms of support and campaigning,” Appleby said. “The Democratic Committee has been nothing but helpful — they have been willing to help me with everything I need because they know I am new at this. Bill Misuraca and Linda Muller have both reached out to me. Had the Republicans done that, things would be looking very differently. I am just sad because I really wanted to build a bridge between the two sides and work together with everybody, and that opportunity was taken from me. I am going to put my focus and effort where I feel it is valued.”
Other candidates in previous elections have been cross endorsed by both parties and received support, Appleby said.
“My whole thing is I want to work with everybody,” she said. “I’m not a politician — I’m a social worker. My intention is to social work the community and that includes working with everybody. This is disheartening to me because this is not how I function. If I had some answers, I think I would be a little bit more at ease with what is going on, but the fact that nobody has reached out is upsetting.”
Coye reiterated that Appleby’s campaigning with the Democrat-endorsed candidates led the party to withdraw its support.
“We wish her the best of luck, but by actively supporting and carrying campaign materials of the other side, we feel that we have to go in our own direction,” Coye said.
Village elections will be held March 15.