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GOP candidates sweep, referendums rejected


By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

The three Republican candidates running in contested races won in Tuesday’s election. Pictured, left to right, are Town Councilman Stephen Schmitt, Town Councilwoman Marisa Tutay and Highway Superintendent Daniel Baker. Town clerk candidate Candace McHugh and town justice candidate Tammy Eissing, not pictured, ran unopposed. Contributed photos

COEYMANS — The five Republican candidates on the ballot swept in Tuesday night’s election and both town propositions were rejected by the voters.

All five positions on the ballot were open due to resignations. Because the election was not an at-large race for the two seats on the town council, candidates ran against each other for a specific seat and the seats did not go to the two candidates with the highest number of votes.

Republican incumbent Town Councilman Stephen Schmitt defeated Democratic challenger Cindy Rowzee with 1,605 votes to Rowzee’s 1,302.

“I would like to thank my wife Lisa, my sons Matthew and Lukas, my daughter-in-law Angie, and my granddaughters, Keele and Delilah,” Schmitt said. “I’d also like to thank my family and friends, who showed their unwavering support throughout this campaign. Without their support, none of this would have been possible.” 

“I would also like to thank the residents of the Town of Coeymans for supporting me through my campaign,” he added. “I am honored and humbled to see the number of votes in my favor and to know that the residents have faith in me to be their voice on the Town Board. I promise to serve our great town to the absolute best of my ability and to be honest and transparent with everyone.”

Republican incumbent Town Councilwoman Marisa Tutay was elected with 1,621 votes to Democratic candidate Ron Hotaling’s 1,284 votes.

“I am thrilled with the election results,” Tutay said. “I am humbled, and very honored, that the residents of the town have placed their trust in me to be a member of the board. I look forward to working with everyone to keep our town a place we are all proud to call home.”

Highway Superintendent Daniel Baker, a Republican who was appointed to the position after former superintendent Scott Searles retired earlier this year, was elected with 1,780 votes to Democrat Peter DeLuke’s 1,149 votes.

“The Coeymans residents came out in numbers we haven’t seen in the last few elections and it is an honor to be elected to highway superintendent,” Baker said. “I will continue to be responsive, honest and transparent to this great community that afforded me this wonderful opportunity and continue to move Coeymans forward for everyone.”

Republican Town Clerk Candace McHugh, who was appointed to the post after Republican Laura Jane Barry stepped down from the job after a few days due to health reasons, ran unopposed and received 2,096 votes.

Republican Tammy Eissing was elected town justice in an uncontested race and received 2,166 votes.

Town Supervisor George McHugh said he was pleased with the election results.

“The Coeymans Comeback Team ran a very clean and issues-focused campaign this season,” McHugh said. “In my opinion, the incumbents prevailed on Election Day because the voters recognize the progress that has been made in Coeymans over the last three years and appreciate the efforts made by the Comeback Team. I look forward to working with the town board and the village as we tackle the current projects such as sidewalks along Route 9W, an alternate truck route through the lands of Lafarge Holcim, and permanent bathroom facilities in both of our town parks. The future is certainly bright for Coeymans.”   

The two referendums on the ballot were defeated by a substantial margin. The proposals were supported unanimously by the town council when votes were held a couple of months ago, but both were defeated at the ballot box Tuesday.

The proposition to construct a new town hall for up to $7 million to replace the existing building, which would have been demolished under the plan, was defeated with 2,045 “no” votes to 875 “yes” votes.

The town council unanimously approved a resolution over the summer to build the new town hall, but a petition signed by an adequate number of residents forced the issue to a vote.

With the proposal rejected by the voters, town officials have not yet said what the next steps will be for the current town hall.

A permissive referendum to demolish the current town hall building, pictured, and replace it with a new structure, costing up to $7 million, was rejected by the voters Tuesday. File photo

The second referendum would have extended the town supervisor’s term from two years to four years, effective in the 2023 election, and was defeated at the polls with 1,925 “no” votes to 1,003 “yes” votes. The proposal to extend the supervisor’s term had a mandatory referendum, meaning final say was up to the voters.

Former town clerk Cindy Rowzee was one of the organizers of the petition effort for the town hall project and said that while she was disappointed not to be elected to the town council, she was gratified that the voters had their say on the referendum.

“I am glad they were voted down,” Rowzee said. “I think that shows that the people are looking into things and that they realize that some things were being pushed for that maybe weren’t right for the community. Hopefully now the town board, especially with the town hall proposition, will look into some other options and find a better option for the town hall rather than spending $7 million.”

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