In Westerlo, unopposed Democrats get another four years

The Enterprise — Marcello Iaia

Putting their heads together: Two voters confer over the ballot on Election Night inside the Westerlo Town Hall.

WESTERLO — For two open town council seats, voters had two choices, and the results were split accordingly, with 49 percent each for Democrats William Bichteman and Theodore Lounsbury, according to unofficial results from the Albany County Board of Elections.

The two joined the all-Democratic town board in Westerlo when they were appointed to fill vacancies in February. They will now serve four-year terms.

Republicans put forward no candidates this year. Jack Milner, chairman of the town’s Republican Committee, said last month that people are discouraged from running. “I’m just hoping hardly anyone shows to vote; that will show the level of disgust,” he said.

In Westerlo, which has 2,228 registered voters, 47 percent are enrolled as Democrats, 19 percent as Republicans, and 23 percent are unaffiliated. The rest are enrolled in small parties, including 2 percent as Conservatives, and 5 percent as Independence Party members.

The “under votes” — counted for ballots cast with fewer than the allowed votes for a single race — for the council race totaled 480. Bichteman received 506 votes and Lounsbury received 505.

Incumbent Democrats Keith Wright for highway superintendent, appointed last year, and Kenneth Mackey for town justice, ran unopposed as well. Wright got 564 votes, with 184 under votes, and Mackey got 531, with 215 under votes.

For the two councilmen and Wright, this was their first election. It was Mackey’s second, for a four-year term. In 2009, Mackey ran on the GOP line because he couldn’t get his party’s backing.

The Republicans made no formal cross-endorsements, but, Milner said last month, “We’re satisfied with Keith Wright, Ken Mackey as judge, and also Bill Bichteman.”

Westerlo had 20 absentee ballots on Wednesday, according to the county board of elections, to be counted next week.

More Hilltowns News

For several years, local residents, private supporters, and school officials have been interested in siting an observatory for community and student education. With Berne's purchase of hilltop land for recreation, the idea is again being considered.

A jury found Henry Manigault guilty of rape, strangulation, imprisonment, and assault of his intimate partner in Medusa, a hamlet in the town of Rensselaerville.

Town Supervisor Richard Rapp said the town's accounting firm helped prepare the budget for the first time this year.