Press-Republican

May 17, 2013

City Dems back mayor, council candidates

By JOE LoTEMPLIO Press-Republican
Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — City of Plattsburgh Democrats have endorsed a full slate of candidates for this year’s Common Council election, but an incumbent is not among them, causing a stir.

Incumbent Councilor Timothy Carpenter of Ward 1 did not get the party’s backing at Tuesday night’s caucus in his bid for re-election.

The nod was instead given to Rachelle Armstrong, a local educator.

Carpenter was disappointed with the outcome and the process for endorsing candidates.

“It is apparent that the Democratic Party does not agree with my thoughts on fiscal responsibility,” he said.

PROCESS CRITICIZED

Carpenter feels it was wrong to allow everyone at the caucus to vote on each ward selection regardless of whether they lived in the ward.

He noted that several people showed up at the caucus who normally are not active in party politics.

City Democratic Chairman Joe Gittens confirmed that the party had only 15 committee members to vote beforehand but that at the meeting, 27 new committee members were sworn in and allowed to vote.

Carpenter also said the party should not have endorsed any candidates and should have let the election process play out in a primary.

“If people want to run, they can get their petitions in, and if there is a primary, then the people of each ward will decide, and the party can back the winner of the primary; that’s the way it should be,” he said.

Gittens said he agreed with Carpenter on that point, but the majority of the committee did not.

PETITIONS

Candidates can begin circulating petitions to run on June 4 and have until July 11 to file them. Each candidate must obtain the signatures of 5 percent of voters registered in their party in each ward.

For mayor, signatures of 5 percent of the entire city in the same party are needed.

If more than one candidate submits the required number of signatures, a primary will be held on Sept. 10 to determine who will run on that line in the general election in November.

Carpenter said he was considering not running in a primary, at this point.

Gittens said he was surprised that Carpenter did not get the endorsement.

“Tim is a good councilor and has done a good job, but that happens sometimes,” he said.

TIFFER FOR MAYOR

All six council seats as well as mayor are up for election this November.

Mayor Donald Kasprzak and four of the six councilors are not running for re-election. James Calnon (I-Ward 4), Chris Case (D-Ward 5) and Chris Jackson (D-Ward 6) have opted not to run, and George Rabideau (R-Ward 3) cannot run due to term limits.

Councilor Mark Tiffer of Ward 2 announced last month that he was considering running for mayor. The Democrats endorsed him for that post Tuesday, potentially leaving his council seat up for grabs.

Others endorsed by the party to run include former Councilor Michael Kelly in Ward 2, attorney Justin Meyer in Ward 3, Paul O’Connell in Ward 4, Becky Kaspar in Ward 5 and Joshua Kretser in Ward 6.

Gittens said he believes the party has a good field of candidates.

“Nobody wants taxes to go up, and keeping taxes down is up to the mayor and the council, and I don’t think anybody (candidates) would go crazy and raise taxes a lot,” he said.

Email Joe LoTemplio:jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com