Tupper Lake Mayor Mickey Desmarais has dropped his re-election bid, ending what had been a brief but charged campaign with Franklin County Legislator Paul Maroun.
That means Maroun will be the village's next mayor, starting in January 2012.
In July, Desmarais had said he was still in the race, despite losing the Republican and Democratic party endorsements to Maroun, and that he planned to run on the independent Pine Tree ticket.
Mayor Mickey Desmarais
(Enterprise file photo)
But Desmarais did not file petitions to get on the ballot in time for the Nov. 8 election. Tuesday was the last day to do so with the Franklin County Board of Elections.
Desmarais told the Enterprise this morning that he never circulated any indpendent petitions. He said he decided to bow out of the race largely because of the intense criticism he received for his recent challenge to the Adirondack Club and Resort project.
Desmarais came under quick and heavy fire from Maroun and ACR supporters this summer when he and the village board issued an ultimatum to the project's developers to make reopening of the Big Tupper Ski Area a priority, and to put it in writing. Desmarais said the tone of the criticism was difficult for his family.
"We decided this a while back," he said. "I'm basing this decision not just on Mickey Desmarais, but on my family. After so long, some of these things can wear you down. My family - I'm not going to put them through any more torment. I'm a big boy; I can take a whipping. But my family has a hard time understanding this."
Desmarais said he believes there's a lot of people in Tupper Lake who were behind him and supported his approach to the ACR project, but they weren't as loud as his critics.
"A leader is only strong as the people that are willing to stand up openly with you," he said. "There's a silent majority that feels the same way I do."
Desmarais also said he didn't feel like he was being treated fairly by the weekly Tupper Lake Free Press, which has taken a strongly pro-ACR stance and criticized Desmarais for the village's ultimatum to the developers.
"I'm certainly not tired; I've got more energy than most people," he said. "I just feel that at this time, if I had to run a campaign in this community, I wouldn't get a fair shake in the local paper. Anybody who reads the local paper will see that. My wife was beside herself when she read the local paper. I've never seen my wife and children so upset."
Desmarais cited several accomplishments during what will be a six-year tenure as mayor: keeping taxes down, securing nearly $1 million in grant funds and helping several blighted properties get cleaned up.
Unfortunately, he said, many people don't think about some of the positive things that have happened in the community because they've been focused on the ACR.
Although he's no longer running for re-election, Desmarias said he may seek political office in the future, possibly as soon as two years from now.
Contact Chris Knight at 518-891-2600 ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.