2011-09-08 / Front Page

Primary Election Totals across Putnam County

Close races mark some campaigns
by Eric Gross

Tony Hay will be Southeast’s new supervisor on January 1 after crushing Michael Rights Tuesday. Hay is congratulated by his fellow legislator Dan Birmingham at a celebration in Brewster on Tuesday night.
Photo by Eric Gross.
Tony Hay will be Southeast’s new supervisor on January 1 after crushing Michael Rights Tuesday. Hay is congratulated by his fellow legislator Dan Birmingham at a celebration in Brewster on Tuesday night. Photo by Eric Gross. Primary Day was held Tuesday across New York State with several key contests decided in Putnam County.

Residents in greater Brewster and Patterson apparently want a change in government, while Conservatives like the political philosophy of GOP County Executive hopeful MaryEllen Odell.

Odell, who has the backing of the Republican, Conservative, and Independence Parties, faced a challenge from the Democratic candidate, Alan Schneider, who waged an opportunity to ballot in an attempt to wrestle the Conservative endorsement away from the former Putnam legislator. His attempt failed: Odell garnered 76 percent of the vote (210 votes) to 64 write-in ballots.

Odell was pleased; she thanked the Conservatives for “standing up for their core values. This race began a year ago and we are in the stretch of a wonderful victory on Election Day.”

Putnam Conservative Party Chairman James Maxwell called Odell’s victory “refreshing to have a woman who will lead our county with dignity and respect. She has great plans. Major changes are on the horizon.”

Legislator Dini LoBue from Mahopac defeated her challenger, former legislator Robert McGuigan, by garnering 57 percent of the vote. The tally announced at the Putnam Board of Elections was 273-201.

McGuigan, who served on the county legislature from 1997 to 2008, will appear on the November ballot nevertheless, since he has formed an independent party. LoBue has the backing of the GOP, Conservative, and Independence parties.

In Carmel, incumbent Highway Superintendent Michael Simone defeated the GOP-endorsed candidate Gerard Ahler by a vote of 867 to 610. While Simone will now represent the Republicans in November, Ahler’s name will still appear on the ballot since he has the backing of the Independence Party.

In Kent, Republicans endorsed incumbents Penny Osborne and Michael Tierney for reelection to the Town Board. Former Kent Justice Joseph Esposito forced a GOP Primary for one of the town council seats. The tally: Tierney—304, Osborne—276, and Esposito—248.

Osborn and Tierney were also victorious in an Independence Party primary.

In Patterson, Supervisor Michael Griffin, who had the backing of the Republican and Independence Parties, narrowly defeated Councilman Joseph Capasso by three votes in a GOP primary. The race is too close to call, since 37 absentee ballots will be counted next Tuesday evening at the Board of Elections office in Carmel.

Patterson Supervisor Mike Griffin Wednesday expressed disappointment with the small turnout at the polls: “The result was also disappointing but I’m in it to win. Mike Griffin has both the Independence and Conservative Party lines. There is no Democrat in the race so regardless of the absentee ballot count next Tuesday, the Democrats, Independents and Conservatives will have their say on Election Day.”

Capasso called the primary “not simply an election. It was an underdog movement by the people. I knew the election would be close because we were fighting to reverse years of corruption and patronage. Having run a strong grassroots absentee ballot campaign, I am confident of victory.”

Griffin said he was amazed that “people failed to see through the stuff my opponent was selling. It was totally absurd to tie me in with our former State Senator. Vinnie Leibell has been prosecuted and is now in prison. This is an absurdity and is nothing more than garbage. I would have thought that people would have seen through this charade and want to focus on important economic issues for our town and go forward.”

A Republican primary for Patterson Highway Superintendent resulted in Russell Goff crushing Henry Burdick Jr. with 72 percent of the vote. The tally: Goff—502, Burdick—193.

In the Putnam Valley highway superintendent race, a GOP Primary and opportunity to ballot on the Independence line pitted Gary Wulfhop against Larry Cobb, who also has the backing of the Working Families Party. Cobb was the victor, garnering 68 percent of the vote (298 votes) to Wulfhop’s 138.

A cheer rang out at Sciortino’s Restaurant in Brewster Tuesday night after Republicans realized that a new supervisor will take office on January 1. Supervisor Michael Rights, who had the backing of the Independence Party, was soundly defeated by the senior member of the Putnam Legislature, Tony Hay. Hay received 67 percent of the vote (938 ballots) to Right’s 440 in the GOP Primary and also took the Independence Line by tallying 90 votes to Rights’s 30. Hay promised residents of Southeast that “things will change on January 1. Civility, sanity and professionalism will return to Southeast government.”

Hay’s running mates were also victorious. Incumbent Councilman Roger Gross and newcomer Edwin Alvarez defeated Councilman Dwight Yee and Robert Bock, who were running with Rights in both Republican and Independence primaries.

Gross received 894 votes, Alvarez tallied 796, Bock received 482 votes, and Yee 473. On the Independence line, Alvarez tallied 57 votes and Gross—56.

Long-time town clerk Ruth Mazzei decided against seeking reelection this year. Her deputy, Michele Stancati, defeated Maria DiSalvo by a margin of 906 to 431 in a GOP Primary.

Putnam and Southeast GOP Chairman James DiBella applauded the sweep: “Everyone gave the Republican Party up for dead eight months ago when we experienced issues with the county executive, who failed to serve one day in office. We have proved tonight in Southeast and with MaryEllen on the Conservative line that the Grand Old Party is far from dead. We are alive and well and will make a good representation in November’s election.”

Anthony Scannapieco, Putnam’s GOP Elections Commissioner and former county Republican chairman, chastised his fellow Republicans for their poor turnout at the polls: “A voter turnout of less than 10 percent is inexcusable. People always complain yet no one comes out to vote; if you want to complain—vote!”

Primary Night results

County Executive Conservative Primary

MaryEllen Odell-210


County Legislature

Dist. 8, Republican

Robert McGuigan--201

Dini LoBue—273

Carmel Highway Superintendent

Gerard Ahler—610

Michael Simone—867

Kent Town Board council member  Republican

Penny Osborn—276

Michael Tierney—304

Joseph Esposito—248

Kent Town Board council member Independence

Penny Osborne—19

Michael Tierney—16

Joseph Esposito—4

Patterson Supervisor

Michael Griffin—347

Joseph Capasso—344

37 absentee ballots to be counted next Tuesday, Sept. 20

Patterson Highway Superintendent

Russell Goff—502

Henry Burdick—193

Putnam Valley Highway Superintendent Republican

Lawrence Cobb—298

Gary Wulfhop—138

Putnam Valley Highway Superintendent Independence

Gary Wulfhop—5


Southeast Supervisor   Republican

Mike Rights—440

Tony Hay—938

Southeast Supervisor Independence

Mike Rights—30


Southeast Town Clerk

Michele Stancati—906

Maria DiSalvo—431

Southeast Councilman   Republican

Edwin Alvarez—796

Roger Gross—894

Robert Bock—482

Dwight Yee—473

Southeast Councilman Independence

Edwin Alvarez—57

Roger Gross—56


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