Dear Fellow Democrats,
On Friday, November 17, in a crowded conference room at the Board of Elections Office in Kingston, absentee and affidavit ballots cast in the November 7 election were opened and tallied. The race for Gardiner Supervisor was the only one hanging in the balance. Our Democratic candidate, Lisa Lindsley, was there with her attorney and three members of the Gardiner Democratic Committee—Barbara Sides, Glenn McNitt, and Tom Kruglinski—for moral support. Republican/Conservative candidate Marybeth Majestic was also there with her attorney and Ken Ronk, Republican Chair of the Ulster County Legislature for support.
The ballots were opened district-by-district over the course of about an hour. The final tally was 1052 for Majestic and 1032 for Lindsley, a difference of 20 votes. Following the count, Lisa conceded the race to Marybeth and congratulated her on her victory.
Though the results of the Supervisor’s race are disappointing, we need to keep things in perspective. The Gardiner Democratic ticket did quite well. Our candidates, David Dukler and Warren Wiegand, won their Town Board races by very wide margins. Tracey Bartels won her race for a fourth term representing Gardiner and parts of Shawangunk in the County Legislature. And though she did not win, Lisa’s performance was nonetheless outstanding.
The name Majestic, of course, has been a household word in Gardiner for more than a hundred years. Lisa was a virtual unknown prior to her campaign, having moved to town a mere four years ago. By all rights, the race should not have been close at all. The fact that the margin between the candidates was just 20 votes (less than 1 percent) is an indication that her Democratic arguments for “doing better,” for smart development (not all development), for infrastructure improvement, and better recreational programs resonated deeply with Gardiner voters.
Moreover, Lisa was an outstanding candidate who ran a superior, and truly grass-roots, campaign. She recruited more than 50 volunteers who knocked on 1,793 doors, made 1,646 phone calls, wrote letters, put up signs, entered data, and encouraged citizens to make significant financial contributions to the Democratic campaign. Lisa also led and managed, quite masterfully, the data analytics that we used in this election and that will be a key to future Democratic victories. So, we salute her, thank her for her tireless work and leadership, and look forward to working with her on important issues in the future.
There is still much to be done in Gardiner. While we will make every effort to work with the Supervisor and new Town Board for the betterment of Gardiner, we know that the entrenched old-boy network is still quite active, especially on the town’s Planning Board. That body just issued a determination that the Shaft Road development will have no significant adverse environmental impact. The Planning Board is poised to issue a similar determination on the Heartwood resort development, which will mean that no Environmental Impact Statement is required. There will soon be two openings on the Planning Board and we will turn our attention to working to ensure they are filled not by developers and their allies, but by citizens who will prioritize open space and environmental protection.
Finally, we are quite gratified at the sharply increased interest in Democratic causes in the age of Trump. If you voted for our candidates, THANK YOU! If you contributed volunteer time or financial resources to the campaign, THANK YOU! If you stepped forward to get involved in any other way, THANK YOU! If you have any inclination to be actively involved, please let us know by contacting us via our website, gardinerdemocrats.com and we will find a way for you to make a difference. We are living our Democratic values here in Gardiner and we treasure your support!
Best wishes for a happy and safe Thanksgiving,
The Gardiner Democratic Committee