If Rotterdam Democrats can lower taxes, they won’t have the ballot line touting their intentions.
Republican and Democratic candidates reached an agreement before court proceedings set for Sept. 28 to have Democratic candidates drop the Lower Taxes Now! designation and replace it with “Re-unite Rotterdam.”
But it’s not certain either will actually be on the ballot, because according to state election law, if a candidate already appears on two of the six “official” party lines then they’re not allowed to appear on an independent nominating line.
“There was never going to be a separate line for Lower Taxes Now!,” Brian Quail, chair of the Schenectady County Democratic Elections Commissioner. “They can have a symbol appear next to their name on one of the party lines.”
The Democratic candidates for Town Board and supervisor will relinquish the LTN! symbol, but the county Democrat candidates representing Rotterdam will keep it. The town Democrats will now hold the symbol for the changed party name of “Re-Unite Rotterdam” instead of the LTN! symbol.
Democrat incumbent County Legislators Tony Jasenski and Angelo Santabarbara along with Democratic candidate for Rotterdam town clerk Diane Marco will have a symbol representing the LTN! on the ballot.
The Republican No New Tax Party candidates had filed a lawsuit against their Democrat challengers’ petitions for the LTN! Party line. Court papers filed claimed the Democrat candidates were trying to deceive voters and confuse NNTP supporters with a similar ballot line.
A Schenectady County Board of Elections hearing on Sept. 17 unanimously ruled the ballot line was valid. NNTP members weren’t satisfied with the ruling and pushed the case further, but it was settled out of court.
Republican candidate for supervisor Brian McGarry, also founder of the NNTP, said town and county Democrats were up to their usual games.
“It is typical of Democrats to run to the right just prior to an election and pretend they are conservative Republicans in ideology and immediately get back into office and assume their liberal ways,” McGarry said. “They are trying to brand themselves in the cloak of fiscal conservatives when their governing history has been anything but.”
Joe Villano, Republican and NNTP candidate for Town Board, said he was not surprised election commissioners ruled 114 of the 996 signatures collected for LTN! invalid.
“I’m not surprised that a large number of signatures … were ruled invalid considering they were predominately obtained by mercenaries brought in from New York City,” Villano said in a statement. “They wouldn’t know the district boundaries, let alone what issues are important to town residents.”
Opposition to the “mercenaries” classification was expressed in a statement from the Rotterdam Democratic Committee, which said the individuals in question belong to a Young Democrats Club attending the University at Albany.
McGarry said he was pleased with the outcome of the lawsuit.
“We were happy with the name change,” McGarry said. “This is all about two different ideologies. One group is passionate about their ideologies and works hard to embrace that and the other side is going to pretend it is their ideology.”
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