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Write-in candidate wins in Chatham Village


GHENT—All four villages in the county held elections Tuesday, March 21. In the Village of Chatham a write-in candidate won a trustee seat over a candidate on the ballot. Ralph O’Mara-Garcia received 124 as a write-in, while candidate Brandon Gaylord, who was on the ballot, received 55. The other person running for trustee, incumbent Peter Minahan, received 157 votes. Mayor John Howe, running unopposed, received 173. There were 5 write-in votes for mayor.

Mr. Gaylord ran unsuccessfully against Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-106th) in the fall of 2022. In that race for Assembly he was on the Republican and Conservative ballot lines. Village elections do not use traditional party lines so for this election Mr. Gaylord was on the Chatham Future Party, the same party line as Mayor Howe and Trustee Minahan.

Chatham is the only village that uses the county Board of Elections to manage their village elections.

Chatham resident Michael Richardson said after the polls closed that he and a handful of other village residents launched the write-in campaign 48 hours before Election Day. He called the results “amazing.”

Mr. O’Mara-Garcia is retired from his position as an architect for the federal government. He is currently on the village’s Zoning Board Appeals.

In three villages there were mayoral races—Chatham, Philmont and Valatie. Kinderhook only had trustee races this year. Board members’ and mayors’ terms are normally 2 years.

There was higher than usual turnout in Village of Valatie, where there was a write-in campaign for mayor. A total of 190 ballots were cast, including 2 absentee ballots. Last year, 24 people voted in the Valatie Village election. Incumbent Mayor Frank Bevens won with 171 while the write-in candidate, Alicia Everett, received 19 votes.

In most of the other village races incumbents ran unopposed for their seats. In Kinderhook there will be a new board member, Quinn Murphy, who won a seat on the board with 87 votes. Mr. Murphy had run unsuccessfully for mayor in 2022. Current board member David Flaherty did not run for reelection.

James Mark Browne was reelected to a seat on the Kinderhook Village board with 105 votes. There were also five write-in candidates, including Mr. Flaherty (2 votes) and former trustee and mayor Richard Phillips (1 vote).

In Philmont, former mayor Clarence “Skip” Speed won a trustee seat. Mr. Speed left the board in 2021 after being mayor for 16 years and a trustee before that. Mr. Speed joins incumbent Jason Detzel who was reelected. And Mayor Brian Johnson was also reelected. Current board member Larry Ostrander did not run for reelection this year.

Election results:

(* For top vote-getters)

Village of Chatham


*John F. Howe (incumbent) – 173

Write-ins – 5

Village Board:

(vote for 2)

*Peter Minahan (incumbent) – 157

Brandon Gaylord – 55

*Ralph O’Mara Garcia (write-in) – 124

Write-ins (scattered) – 3


Village of Kinderhook

Village Board:

(vote for 2)

*James Mark Browne – 105
*Quinn Murphy – 87

David Flaherty – 2

Malcolm Bird – 1

David Barlet – 1

Todd Johnson – 1

Richard Phillips – 1


Village of Philmont

*Brian T. Johnson – 104

Village Board (vote for 2)

*Jason Detzel – 85

*Clarence “Skip” Speed – 100


Village of Valatie

*Frank Bevens – 171
Alicia Everett – 19

Village Board

(vote for 2)

*Matthew Carter (incumbent) – 159

*Larry Eleby (incumbent) – 163

Patsy Leader (write in) – 2

Phil Leader (write in) – 1

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