A clash is brewing in the Town of Milton as Republican candidates square off among each other, causing a looming primary race for town elected offices this September.
Called the Committee for Responsible Government in the Town of Milton, five candidates have thrown their hats in the ring. Members of the town’s Republican party, after failing to receive party nods, the men obtained Independence Party and Conservative Party endorsements and enough signatures to force a run-off.
Those candidates are John Cromie for town supervisor, challenging incumbent Frank Thompson; Martin Nardella for town clerk, challenging incumbent Bill Mevec; Doug Bennett and Shane Flint for town council seats, challenging incumbents Alison Saul and Joe Miranda; and Mark Eubrick for highway supervisor, challenging Dave Forbes.
As an added ingredient in the town political environment, Democrat Meg Stevens on June 25, announced her bid for a town council seat, and will begin campaigning heavily at this week’s Saratoga County Fair.
The Dems held their first caucus in recent history on July 11 to approve their support of Stevens, but their search for additional candidates has proved fruitless to date.
Nardella said he is aware that he faces an uphill battle running against Mevec, who has been in office for 33 years, but Nardella is confident his public record will entice voters.
I’ve been an active and respectable resident of Milton for 31 years, said Nardella. `I was the owner of Milton Movies and served on the Milton Planning Board for nine years, with the last four years as chairman.`
During his tenure on the planning board, Nardella said he was instrumental in numerous planning developments such as Rowland Hollow East, West Two, Pheasant Run and Milton Oaks, to name a few. He also volunteered more than five years for the Children’s Park Program, setting up parks and recreational activities, and served as town justice from 1996 to 2005.
Nardella said the response from residents has already been favorable.
`We needed 5 percent of the registered Republican voters on our petition, which is 297, and we got 913 signatures,` said Nardella.
As the designated leader of the Committee for Responsible Government in Milton, Nardella said the party’s platform is informing the public about board decisions and inviting their input.
`We want to give residents what’s due to them, and that’s lower town expenditures, no tax hikes, and recording meeting minutes,` said Nardella. `We want to represent the large elderly population in town, and also those with lower incomes.`
Nardella said he also plans to work five days, weekdays, in the town clerk’s office and have Saturday hours at no extra charge to the town.
John Cromie is a lifelong resident of the Village of Ballston Spa, and is currently a lawyer in private practice.
`There is a split in the town’s Republican committee now, and it’s been a long time coming,` said Cromie. `At the end of their interviews in May to endorse candidates, it became pretty clear to me they’d made their decisions beforehand. There was a vote, but it seemed to be a done deal.`
Cromie has served as attorney for the village’s planning board, founded a French student exchange program with the Ballston Spa School District, and is a member of the village’s historic district commission.
`The town’s at a point of change,` said Cromie. `People chose to live in Milton because of the lifestyle it offers, and their needs aren’t being answered. They’ll end up finding themselves on the short end, because the current board isn’t active carrying things out.`
Cromie challenged Frank Thompson two years ago in a bid for town supervisor, but bowed out after failing to receive the Republican Party endorsement. Cromie said the Independence nod carries a lot of weight in Milton.
`The Independence Party takes the position that it doesn’t waste time spinning issues, but talks about the nitty-gritty,` said Cromie. `People respect that. There are a lot of very unhappy people in town right now that could become more active given the chance.`
Doug Bennett has been a town resident for 18 years, and has previously run for Republican party endorsement as a write-in candidate.
`I missed by only a narrow margin,` said Bennett. `I think primaries are healthy for a party, and we have a good chance of winning. It’s all about choice, and I believe we need some changes in the town.“