Primaries tomorrow: North Elba, Keene, Jay

The North Elba Town Hall (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

Republican and Democratic voters in three local towns will decide their candidates for town boards Tuesday.

In both North Elba and Keene, three candidates are seeking ballot access on the Republican line for two town board seats. Democratic voters will pick one of two candidates for Jay town board.

There are also primaries in Chesterfield, Crown Point, Elizabethtown, Newcomb and Willsboro. Franklin County uses caucuses instead of primaries to choose each party’s candidates.

North Elba

Three candidates are seeking the Republican line for North Elba Town Board. Two seats carrying four-year terms are up in the general election this November. Signs for all three are posted all over Lake Placid as well as in part of Saranac Lake.

Doug Hoffman, 69, is a certified public accountant and local businessman. He grew up on the North Elba side of Saranac Lake before eventually moving to Lake Placid. He started his career at Price Waterhouse. He was the chief financial officer for the 1980 Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid and said that, along with his family, he had a hand in starting 13 businesses. He has served on the board of directors for the Lake Placid Visitors Bureau, the North Country Community College Foundation, Adirondack Health and the Adirondack Health Foundation, the regional Boy Scouts of America and the Eastern Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Foundation. He has also volunteered for the state Olympic Regional Development Authority and the local fire department.

If elected, Hoffman said keeping the town’s spending in check would be his priority.

“My priority would be to make sure we made wise financial decisions for North Elba and ensure the town remains on budget,” he said.

“I’ll certainly work hard for (taxpayers) and make sure we make the proper decisions moving forward.”

Richard Cummings, 62, has worked as a pharmacist in the Lake Placid area since 1985.

Cummings’ father was the chairman of the Washington County Board of Supervisors, but he hasn’t yet held public office himself. Asked what his priorities would be if elected, he said he “doesn’t have an agenda.”

“I just want to learn the ropes, learn how to become a good councilman and address the issues,” he said.

The third candidate, Jeremy Mihill, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday.

On social media, Mihill, the owner of Boyer’s Septic Service, said he believes he could bring “many good things to our community in the future” if elected.

“I have lived in this community my whole life and worked inside the local government at the Highway Dept., the Police Dept. as Traffic Control, and as a Police Officer,” he wrote. “I have also had the privilege of working alongside the dedicated members of our local Fire Dept and our Emergency medical personnel. I now own a small business and I certainly understand the many challenges facing North Elba as a community.

“Let’s face the future and current challenges of this community together and find solutions that work for us all. Please allow me to give back to all of you who support this community day after day.”

Regardless of who wins the primary, all three will remain on the ballot in the Nov. 5 general election: Hoffman is also running on the Conservative party line, and Mihill and Cummings both filed independent petitions under the Integrity party.

In all, six candidates are vying for the two town board seats.

Other candidates running include Independence Party candidate Richard “Rik” Cassidy; Bob Rafferty, running as a Democrat and as an independent under the ADK Residents party line; and Democrat Emily Politi, who is also running on the LP Local party line.

Town Councilman Bob Miller is declining to seek re-election, and Jay Rand’s seat is open as he runs for supervisor.


Three candidates are seeking the Republican ballot line for town council. There are two seats carrying four-year terms up in the general election this November.

Incumbent Jerry Smith, 66, is seeking a third term on the Keene Town Council.

Before he was elected, he worked at the Keene Central School District for 34 years as the head of transportation, according to Smith.

Smith said it’s “not a big deal, being on the town board.

“You just have to make decisions for the taxpayers,” he said.

If elected for another term, Smith said he would prioritize an ongoing water infrastructure project.

“We have one well that’s not up and running. It’s been a couple of years we’ve spent getting grant money. We were in the process of piping it in, but we don’t have the money to do it,” he said.

“That’s the most important thing going on in this town right now, is the town water.”

Candidate John Hudson, 65, is a lifelong resident of Keene. He’s the owner of the Hudson Art Center. He was the code officer in Keene for five years, as well as the code officer for Jay and Elizabethtown. He was also an inspector for the Federal Emergency Management Agency for eight years.

Hudson previously threw his hat in the ring for town supervisor following the resignation of Bill Ferebee in November 2016. Ultimately the town board appointed current supervisor Joe Pete Wilson Jr. to the position.

If elected to the town council, Hudson cited two main priorities: safe parking and taxes.

“I would fight the increasing taxes; that would be my first priority,” he said. “The second is traffic. With the summer people coming up — it’s good, we all like it, but safe parking will be another priority.”

David Deyo, co-chair of the Keene town planning board, is also running for the town board. He could not immediately be reached for comment.

All the candidates have filed independent petitions, meaning that the primary loser can still have his name on the ballot in the general election. Deyo is running on the Justice party line, Hudson on the Framers party line and Smith on the Worker party line.

Other candidates running for a town council seat include Independence Party candidates Devon Holbrook and Jennifer Whitney. Whitney is also running as an independent candidate on the Honesty party line.


Democrats will decide between Christopher Garrow and Knut Sauer as their candidate to fill the two-year unexpired term of Bob Segall. Sauer has also filed to run as an independent candidate on the Vision for Jay party line, but Garrow would be knocked off the Nov. 5 ballot if he loses.

Segall resigned in February, citing health problems and opposition from his colleagues on the town board. Garrow, Essex County’s Department of Public Works superintendent, was appointed to the seat until the next election.

Garrow served in Jay’s Highway Department in various capacities, including DPW chief, from 1986 to 2014, when he was appointed to the Essex County job.

“I have a distinct advantage over other potential candidates as I have a vast and complete knowledge of the town’s roadways, bridges, and infrastructure,” Garrow said in a message to voters earlier this month.

Sauer has worked as an international sales and marketing manager. He currently serves as the vice president of the AuSable Acres Property Owners Association. In a bio posted on his social media page, Sauer says he’s an active volunteer for the North Country SPCA, the state Olympic Regional Development Authority and the New York Ski Educational Foundation at Whiteface.

“I want to explore options and ideas to broaden our tax base and generate additional non-property tax revenue,” he wrote on social media. “We need to bring new business to our town, to capitalize on the growing tourism in the region, and make Jay a place to stop, not just a town to pass through.”

Neither candidate immediately responded to a request for comment Sunday.

Four other candidates are running for the two town board seats in the general election: Democrat Wayne Roger Frederick; Adam Coolidge, an independent candidate on the Community First party line; Republican Thomas McDonald; and John Sheldrake, who is running on the Republican party line and on the independent Honesty party line.

Where and when to vote

Jay, Keene and North Elba will have two polling stations each open from noon to 9 p.m.

Registered Republicans in North Elba’s first, third, fourth, fifth and sixth election districts can cast their ballots at the town hall at 2693 Main St. in Lake Placid. Those in the second and seventh districts can vote at the North Elba Town House at 193 River St. in Saranac Lake.

Registered Democrats in Jay’s first election district can vote at the Amos and Julia Ward Theater at 12 Parkside Drive, Jay. Those in the second district can vote at the town offices, 11 School Lane in AuSable Forks.

The polling place for registered Republicans in Keene’s first election district is the town hall, 10892 Route 9N in Keene. Second-district voters can cast their ballots at the Keene Valley Fire Hall at 15 Market St.

Don’t know what election district you live in? Visit voterlookup.elections.ny.gov.