The New Scotland Democratic Party endorsed its candidates Wednesday, June 24, backing a political newcomer and a Republican Party member for November's elections. In response to the Democrats choosing a Republican, Conservative candidate Peter Belencia has thrown his hat into the ring for a Town Board seat.
The New Scotland Democrats, unlike many other local political parties, hold a caucus when selecting candidates, rather than a committee meeting and petition signing. At Wednesday's meeting they chose to endorse incumbent Tom Dolin for supervisor, along with highway superintendent Darrell Duncan and Town Clerk Diane Deschenes.
The party has also elected to endorse Daniel Mackay, co-founder of New Scotlanders for Sound Economic Development and Republican Doug LaGrange. Both have been advocates of a 50,000-square-foot size cap on retail buildings, and do not support big-box development in town.
Party chairman Mike Mackey said both Mackay and LaGrange garnered a good amount of support.
Mackay was virtually unanimous, he said. "We took a standing vote for LaGrange, and he received about 90 percent."
He said close to 300 registered Democrats came out for the caucus, a number that far exceeds the norm.
"That's an enormous turnout. Normally we have about 30 people," he said.
He also said there were about 100 non-party affiliated observers on hand to watch the proceedings.
"The committee will be meeting to discuss things like fundraisers and working on things like the campaigns," Mackey said.
LaGrange said he did not seek the Democratic endorsement, and that partisanship should be second to the issues the town faces.
"I didn't seek it. I didn't ask for it," he said. "It shouldn't be about Republicans or Democrats. It should be about what's best for the town of New Scotland."
"I'm as conservative a Republican as you can find when it comes to national issues, but there's no relevance on the local level," LaGrange said.