NORWICH – With 36 names on the list, the Chenango County Board of Elections office has never before had so many candidates file independent petitions in an election year.
“It’s an enormous amount. It’s the largest number we’ve ever had,” said Democratic Commissioner Carol A. Franklin.
The petitions were circulated and filed Aug. 24. The total number may change, said Republican Commission Harriet Jenkins, as time remains for objections. All of the candidates had confirmed their intent to run for office as of the deadline Friday.
Third party candidates can pick their own affiliations, and as expected, to drill or not to drill for natural gas appears to be the most dominate theme. Candidates have adopted: “Earth Friendly,” “Keep Water Safe” and “Clean Water” platforms, for example. Natural gas exploration issues, from road and water use ordinances to outright drilling bans, have dominated the discussion at council meetings in a handful of towns over the past year.
Though not all towns have caucused yet, and the Republican Party primaries aren’t until Sept. 13, the independent petitions filed last week set up additional races for county supervisor. There are five all together at this point: in Afton, Columbus, Coventry, McDonough and Smithville.
Some towns have yet to caucus and must do so by Sept. 23, which is the last day to accept or deny a nomination. Election Day is Nov. 8. Voters have the choice of selecting among candidates printed on the ballot or writing in their own candidate’s name.
There were a total of six independent petitions returned for political office in Coventry, a place in south-central Chenango County where opponents to a natural gas pipeline franchising proposal have crowded several town hall meetings.