The first official steps to getting onto the September and November ballots are being taken as Bethlehem candidates submit their signed petitions to the Albany County Board of Elections.
The big race in town is the supervisor's race as incumbent Democrat Jack Cunningham is seeking his second full term of office against a challenge from Independence Party Councilman Sam Messina.
The challenge includes an apparent Independence Party primary after Cunningham got the nod over Messina for his own party line. Both men are confident they will win their respective primary and add an extra ballot line for the full fall election and have handed in the required number of signatures to the board of elections.
Cunningham and Messina have both accepted invitations to a primary debate sponsored by The Spotlight and the Albany County League of Women Voters at a date and venue to be determined after final petition determinations.
Today is the deadline for submitting designating petitions to the county. The final determinations on the number and validity of signatures by the board will be made on Monday, July 20.
Cunningham contends that his unanimous support from the Albany County Independence Party over their own member depicts a solid record of his tenure in office and is a big vote of confidence as an effective and efficient public servant.
Messina on the other hand states the nomination is just another example of insider politics and placing the will of a few over the will of the public, which touches upon a major theme of his platform on opening up Town Hall and ending party governance.
The supervisor candidates thanked their supporters and volunteers after the big campaign milestone.
I am truly overwhelmed by the outpouring of support we've seen from members of the Independence Party, Cunningham said in a prepared statement. "By signing our team's petitions, voters are giving us a vote of confidence and I will continue my efforts to advance the policies that have helped make Bethlehem a great place to work and raise a family."