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Hudson Valley News  is published weekly on Wednesdays.

Hudson Valley News  is published weekly on Wednesdays.

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    Blame it on the constitutional convention.  Blame it on President Trump.  You can even blame it on the weather.  The outcome for the Dutchess County GOP fell well short of expectations. They were slammed by huge and unexpected losses across the county in last week’s election.  From the top of ticket down, Republicans were left in the dust by what appears to be a national tidal change ushering in a new crop of atypical candidates across almost every state in the union. Democrats would argue the vote reflects the status quo which has been distorted by Donald Trump’s freakish win in last year’s election and that this year’s results simply validate that assumption.

    This year’s local incumbent races were far from normal.  While political challengers have approximately a three percent chance of unseating a current office holder, many local Democrats found themselves gaining control over what were formerly “unwinnable” seats.  Newcomer Robin Lois’s contest against current Dutchess County Comptroller Jim Coughlan hinges on over 3,000 absentee ballots that still are waiting to be opened. However, Lois has an over 400 vote lead and is expected to maintain her advantage barring an unforeseen Republican surge in the absentee ballots. The Dutchess County Republicans also lost several key spots in the legistature including long time incumbents Margaret Kakish, John Forman, and Jerry Landisi.  Wappinger Democratic Legislator and incumbent Francena Amparo is only 20 votes behind her GOP challenger and is expected to hold onto her seat once the absentee ballots are counted.  A legislature seat left open by departing Republican Angela Flesland went to Democrat Rebecca Edwards over challenger William Biskup in the Town of Poughkeepsie.

    While Supreme Court Judicial Candidate Linda Murray had her work cut out for her in a race that encompassed five counties, she was unable to even carry her home turf of Dutchess County. The Town of Clinton elected its first Democratic councilman in 15 years thanks in a large part to former New York State gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout who went door to door for local Democrats.  Clinton Dem Michael Whitton beat out entrenched official Michael Appolonia.

     In the towns of North East and Millerton, it is the first time in 100 years that the town board there has held a Democratic majority with the wins of Chris Kennan and Ralph Fedele.

    In Hyde Park, a strong race with good candidates put forth by the local Republican Committee failed to garner a single win. Town Supervisor Aileen Rohr surprised many with her narrow win over Republican Bill Truitt.  His son, incumbent County Legislator Will Truitt, took home the gold for Republicans with an easy win.

    While there was no race for town board seats in Rhinebeck, incumbent legislator Joel Tyner seemed to be in for the fight of his political life.  Despite many Democratic leaders going on the record against Tyner’s relentless histrionics, including the first censure ever in Dutchess County legislative history, Tyner had the biggest plurality of his many terms in office. The only hope to unseat Tyner may be putting term limits into place, something Tyner vehemently opposes. Tyner’s victory makes you wonder if county Republicans can win anything in that district.

    The City of Poughkeepsie races have left Mayor Rob Rollison in a bit of a pickle.  With the key losses of Republican City Councilman Lee Kline and Democrat turned Republican Mike Young, Rollison may have a difficult time getting his agenda passed with a strong Democratic majority.  Yvonne Flowers, a registered Independent, did beat out incumbent Democrat Ann Perry.  Flowers is the daughter of the late, beloved community advocate John Flowers.  As a footnote, Randall Johnson won his wife’s (Gwen Johnson) former county legislator seat back for the family.  Randall Johnson, II, held onto his city council chair as well.

     Perhaps the biggest loss of Election Day 2017 goes to Town of Wappingers Supervisor Lori Jiava, who was appointed to her post.  Despite holding three key lines, she received only 30.33 percent of the total vote.  Dem Richard Thurston will take the helm in January.

   All in, Republicans are facing an uphill climb going into 2018 if last week’s results are any indication.

BY HV NEWS STAFF

Dutchess Republicans reeling after big losses

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