By JOE LoTEMPLIO Press-Republican
---- — PLATTSBURGH — It appears that there will be two major-party primaries in races for City of Plattsburgh Common Council seats this year.
More primaries could also emerge soon on third-party lines.
According to preliminary ballots from the Clinton County Board of Elections, primaries will be held in the Democratic Party races in Ward 1 and Ward 3 on Sept. 10.
In Ward 1, incumbent Timothy Carpenter is challenged by Rachelle Armstrong, and in Ward 3, Kathryn McLeery will run against Justin Meyer.
Armstrong was chosen by the party to be the endorsed candidate in Ward 1 at a May caucus in a surprise vote over Carpenter, who has been in office since 2008.
“I believe the voters should be the ones who choose the candidate, not a small group who has an agenda,” Carpenter said in reasoning why he will run in a primary.
Carpenter said he believes the city has been headed in the right direction since he has been on the council.
“I want to continue with that, and this is a very important election,” he said.
“A lot can happen.”
Armstrong said she welcomes the primary.
“I think it is indicative of a healthy democratic environment,” she said.
Armstrong said the caucus selection followed all the party bylaws and procedures, and the party members spoke. She also said she found it interesting that Carpenter did not have a problem with the format when he got the endorsement in 2007 and 2010.
“We had a very good turnout at the caucus, I think, because a lot of people were not satisfied,” she said.
“But I respect his desire to get on the ballot and hear from the voters.”
The winner of the Democratic primary in Ward 1 is slated to face Republican William Ferris.
Meyer, a Plattsburgh attorney, is the party’s endorsed candidate in Ward 3.
McLeery, as did Carpenter, submitted petitions with the required number of signatures by the July 11 deadline to force the primary.
McLeery ran for mayor in 2010 against incumbent Donald Kasprzak and lost overwhelmingly.
Meyer said he believes he is the best qualified candidate in the primary race.
“I look forward to the opportunity to speak to Democratic voters in Ward 3, and to all voters, to make my positions on the issues clear,” Meyer said, “and I fully expect that when the primary is over, voters will have a clear choice.”
McLeery said she believes city government should be operating better.
“I am on a fixed income, and I am angry to see money wasted, she said.
“I have been active politically for decades, and I am angry watching while New York state laws are ignored,” she wrote in an email to the Press-Republican.
“I can save us money and, I can make our lives better at the same time, and this is why I am running for City Council.”
The winner is slated to face face Republican Dale Dowdle.
Primaries could also emerge on the Independence and Conservative Party lines.
Candidates had until the end of business last Thursday to file petitions to open up primaries for those parties.
Board of Elections Commissioner Susan Castine explained that any candidate can force a primary for the Independence or Conservative party by submitting the required number of signatures that are notarized by a member of the party.
The candidate cannot get signatures that their opponent already has secured, and they must have authorization from the party to get signatures.
If the challenge is successful, the primary then becomes an open race where voters of that party can write in any name they want.
“It is confusing,” Castine said.
CREATE A PARTY
Candidates can also get on the ballot by creating their own party by securing signatures of 5 percent of those who voted in the last gubernatorial election. In the city, that amounts to about 250 names.
Those signatures cannot come from voters who have already signed a petition for that same office. The candidate must also submit an emblem for the party they create.
The deadline to form their own party is Aug. 9.
Candidates for town offices on the major party lines will be selected by town party caucuses. The deadline for those is Sept. 17.
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