Above: Photo by Flickr user Ann Douglas. Published under Creative Commons license.
If you're registered to a political party in New York State, you may be eligible to vote in a primary election on Thursday, September 13. Most towns in the Catskills region have either a Republican or a Democratic primary. (Check our handy cheat sheet below to see if your party has a primary race in your town.)
Earlier this year, new New York State Senate and Assembly districts were drawn. This will be the first election to use the new primary districts, and voters in some towns will be seeing an unfamiliar incumbent on the ballot: a politician who is already in office, but who has never before represented that town as part of his or her district.
In the long, skinny, bizarrely-shaped 101st Assembly District -- in which, as the Times Herald-Record's Doyle Murphy noted earlier this year, it's tough to get straight from one end to the other without a helicopter -- incumbent Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney is facing off against challenger Brian Maher for the Republican nomination. Maher is currently the mayor of the Orange County village of Walden.
Tenney, 51, currently represents the 115th Assembly District. She is a lawyer and businesswoman who has said the 101st is too much ground for one person to cover. Nevertheless, Tenney said she has logged thousands of miles since the start of her campaign.
Meanwhile, Maher, 27, rode a bike more than 250 miles through the district in a week and stopped to campaign along the way. He works as a salesman for the diamond jewelry chain Zales.
In the 46th State Senate district, which includes all of Greene County and a chunk of Ulster, a three-way race is on for the Democratic nomination. All three candidates are from the Capital District: Thomas Dolan from Coeymans, and Duanesburg residents Monica Arias Miranda and Cecilia Tkaczyk. Both the Daily Freeman and the Daily Mail have interviewed the three candidates.
The 51st State Senate district, which includes Schoharie County, about half of Delaware, and a piece of Ulster, has a Republican race between longtime incumbent James Seward and challenger James Blake. Blake, an entrepreneur from the town of Maryland, declined to speak to the Freeman last week about his campaign -- though he did write us a letter to the editor recently. The Auburn Citizen has interviewed both candidates, and highlighted their views on hydrofracking, which Blake supports with considerably more fervor than Seward appears to.
In the Greene County town of Durham, a race is on for both the Republican and Independence tickets between incumbent Patricia Handel and challenger Leslie Armstrong, both seeking to represent Durham in the Greene County Legislature. The Daily Mail's Susan Campriello spoke with both candidates last week.
A few towns have primary races for town council seats. In the Delaware County town of Sidney, where a town council member died earlier this year and left the council in bitter deadlock, three candidates are vying for two spots on the Republican ticket: John Schaeffer, Kerri Green and Gregory McCann.
In Sullivan County, three towns have primary races for town council: a Democratic race in Bethel, a Conservative race in Lumberland, and a Republican race in Tusten. In Bethel, Lillian Hendrickson and William Gloor face off for the opportunity to challenge Republican Bob Blais in November. In Lumberland, Martha Tully -- already endorsed by the Democratic and Independence parties -- will try for a Conservative nomination as well, against Republican nominee David Leamon. (Either way, the Sullivan County Democrat notes, they'll face one another in the polls in November.) In Tusten, Kathleen Michell and Ned Lang vie for the Republican nomination.
Below: Handy Primary Day cheat sheet! First, find your town (in Delaware, Ulster, Sullivan, Schoharie or Greene County) on the spreadsheet below. Then check the right-hand columns to see if your party is holding a primary there -- and if so, which office the candidates are seeking.
Not included: Towns with no primaries, and a couple of primaries in which no candidate has a challenger listed on the ballot other than a write-in option. (A note on that: In the 101st Assembly District, the Conservative Party has the chance to vote for Claudia Tenney or a write-in, and the 46th Senate District has a write-in-only primary for the Green Party.)