CLIFTON PARK: Paolucci holds off Bellamy

Nancy Bellamy stole a nervous glance at her party chairman, Todd Kerner, while seated at a table inside the county board of elections on Tuesday, Sept. 25. On the table were a dozen sealed absentee ballots that had been cast in Clifton Park for the town's Independence and Conservative party primaries.

Bellamy, a Democratic challenger for town board, came into the count two votes behind Republican incumbent Tom Paolucci on the Independence line and was hoping the absentee votes would be enough to swing the nomination in her favor.

Unfortunately for the Democrats, Bellamy left the table without an Independence Party endorsement.

Paolucci held off Bellamy in the Independence primary after absentee votes were opened to take the nomination, and he will join fellow Republican incumbent Scott Hughes on the party's two lines in November.

The official total had Hughes with 111 votes, Paolucci with 49 votes, and Bellamy with 47 votes. There were also 11 write-in votes for Democrat Margaret Catellier, and 68 blank votes.

This is an important first step, and I'm obviously very happy with the outcome, Paolucci said Thursday, Sept. 27. "I'm looking forward to having a very lively, upbeat campaign. Adding this line just makes it that much better for me as we go forward towards Nov. 6."

Independence Party county chairman Lee Kolesnikoff declined to comment for this story after the absentee votes were opened.

"I thought it was very interesting to watch as [the votes] came in. I thought Lee was very supportive of all of us," Bellamy said. "I felt it was fair that he let the people decide, and now the people have decided."

Clifton Park has approximately 1,000 Independence Party voters. In June, the party had endorsed just Bellamy and Hughes, but Paolucci was allowed to run as well, forcing a September primary.

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