Tupper mayor, council candidates nominated
TUPPER LAKE — There will be contested races for village mayor and town board on the ballot here this November. The local Republican and Democratic parties nominated candidates at caucuses last week that featured several contests for nominations, record-setting attendance and some confusion over election law.
There are now three candidates running for two open town board seats and two candidates running for village mayor. Election day is Nov. 2.
The town council candidates are all newcomers — Republicans Tim Larkin and Rick Donah and Democrat John Gillis.
Democrats were not expected to caucus, as their party has struggled to find leaders and candidates in recent year, but a group gathered Thursday to support Gillis.
At the Republican caucus on Wednesday, outgoing town Supervisor Patti Littlefield, who is not running for reelection, was also nominated for a board seat but failed to garner enough votes.
She received 25 votes, Donah got 30 and Larkin got 35.
The two seats Donah, Larkin and Gillis are running for are currently held by Councilmen John Quinn, a Democrat, and Mike Dechene, a Republican. Neither are running for reelection because they both said they are firm believers in term limits. Quinn said he believes all offices should be limited to two terms. He was appointed to fill a board vacancy just before his first election, and after a little more than two terms, he said he’s ready for a fresh perspective on the board.
Dechene said he has served on numerous boards, councils and groups over the past few decades and he is ready to “slide into the sunset” and spend more time with his grandchildren and working at the Tupper Lake Golf Course.
Larkin and Donah will also be on the Conservative Party line.
Current village Trustee Clint Hollingsworth is the only candidate running for town supervisor. He’s on the Republican and Conservative party lines.
Littlefield said she is not running for reelection to focus on her job at North Country Home Services, and her growing family of children and grandchildren.
At the Republican caucus town Justice Leonard Young was nominated by mayoral candidate Eric Shaheen and his wife Briggette Shaheen. But Young had already left the caucus after the village nominations.
Hollingsworth got 34 votes and Young got 10.
Mayoral challenger Eric Shaheen beat incumbent village Mayor Paul Maroun for the Republican nomination for village mayor, 53 to 36.
“It felt good,” Shaheen said.
Shaheen unsuccessfully ran for village board last year.
Maroun will still be on the Nov. 2 ballot on the Independence line.
There were around 40 people who found out they couldn’t vote in the caucus after it began because they had already signed Maroun’s petition for him to appear on the Independence party line. If a Republican signs a petition for an independent candidate, they cannot also participate in a caucus nominating for that position.
This law was not well known before the caucus.
Maroun is accustomed to primaries in his other election position as a Franklin County legislator, and has not had a contested race for mayor in quite some time.
Shaheen also beat Maroun out for the Conservative nomination. He said if he didn’t get party nominations he wouldn’t have run.
Maroun said this will be the “most vigorous” election race he’s ever been in.
Maroun said he will be campaigning to Republicans and Conservatives, as well as Democrats, whose party line for mayor will be empty on the Nov. 2 ballot.
There are two candidates running for two open village board seats — incumbent Deputy Mayor Leon LeBlanc and David “Haji” Maroun, who was a village trustee for eight years before leaving the position in 2020.
Maroun is now returning to run, as Hollingsworth’s seat will be left empty in his bid for town supervisor and Trustee Ron LaScala is not running for reelection, seeking a respite from politics.
Both LeBlanc and Haji Maroun will be running on the Republican and Conservative party lines.
Local Republican Chair Lidia Kriwox said the GOP caucus last week was the largest she’s ever seen in Tupper Lake. Around 200 people gathered in the Emergency Services building, though only around half of those people were registered Republicans able to vote in the caucus.
She was encouraged by the competition for elected offices, saying it was a sign of a strong democratic process.
Local Democratic Chair John Quinn also said the Democrats’ caucus was well-attended, with around 20 showing up to support Gillis.
Tupper Lake Conservative Party Chair Rick Dattola said the party had to redo its village caucus after the secretary in its first caucus was challenged because they live in the town.
He said the results were the same as the first time.