Esslie-Frenia Law June 2023 Leaderboard

Abrams wins mayor’s seat in Kinderhook


GHENT—Michael Abrams defeated two challengers to win the mayoral race in the Village of Kinderhook on Tuesday, March 15. Mr. Abrams, a current village trustee, received 322 votes, Barry Knights received 28 votes and Quinn Murphy received 118 votes. The mayor is a two-year term.

There was also a race for two trustee seats, with two candidates running unopposed for two-year terms. Incumbent Trustee Dorene Weir won reelection with 356 votes and Susan Patterson was elected to an open seat with 378 votes.

According to an email from the village, there were a total of 478 residents who voted – 412 voted at the poll and 66 voted absentee.

In the 2021 village election less than 100 people voted (the highest vote-getting was 86 votes for Trustee Mark Browne). Mr. Abrams was elected trustee in September of 2020 after the election was moved due to Covid-19. In that election he won his seat with 162 votes.

The Times Union published a story in February of 2022 about this year’s candidates with the first line saying, “A precocious political science major, a Marine reservist, a popular Instagram meme account and a man who displayed a gun as Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters marched past his house recently announced their campaigns for village mayor.” (“Guns, memes and the Marines: Local mayor’s race takes shape” by Roger Hannigan Gilson, February 12).

Mr. Murphy, who grew up in the village, is a political science/pre-law major at Siena College, class of 2024. Mr. Abrams is a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corp reserves who founded and currently runs a non-profit that helps veterans and their spouses find employment.

Mr. Knights acknowledged to the Times Union that he told his wife, “Look, just get my piece” and held the gun while he stood on his porch during a BLM march in the village in July of 2020. He was not charged with a crime but at the time the State Police said they confronted a man and a woman after “protesters reported two Kinderhook subjects initiated a verbal argument while armed with a handgun.”

An anonymous Instagram account called the Kinderhooker did not ask for write-in votes.

Mr. Abrams and Mr. Quinn attended a candidate forum in early March hosted by the KBPA (Kinderhook Business and Professional Association). Mr. Knights did not attend. All three candidates had lawn signs throughout the village during election season.

In three other villages in the county, there were trustee openings and all the candidates were running unopposed.

Village races:

•In Chatham, the only village in the county where the elections are run by the Board of Elections, the unofficial results (before absentee ballots) are that current Village Trustee Melony Spock was reelected with 32 votes and newcomer Karyn Schassler with 30 votes. Both ran unopposed for two-year terms.

•In Philmont, Carla Ingersoll was reelected Village Justice for a four-year term with 121 votes. The two incumbent trustees Douglas Cropper (95 votes) and Debra Gitterman (90 votes) were reelected to two-year terms.

•In Valatie, a total of 24 people voted. Incumbent Angelo Nero received 21 votes and Patrick Rodgers received 23 votes.

At the Valatie Village Board meeting on March 8, Mayor Frank Bevens gave outgoing Trustee Dave Williams, who did not run for reelection, a plaque for his nine years of service on the board. Mr. Williams said that serving on the board “has been an honor” and “I think we did a good job with what we had.”

At a board meeting in January, the mayor appointed Matt Carter to fill a seat left empty when a former trustee, Sean Casey, was elected to the Town of Kinderhook board.

The officials elected to village positions take office in April.

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