- Rich Klein
Highland's Haas and Thompson's Rieber Re-Elected As Town Supervisors; Fallsburg Races In Court
Updated: Jan 7, 2022
(THIS STORY WAS UPDATED AT 5 PM TODAY)
Highland Supervisor Donald Jeff Haas and Thompson Supervisor Bill Rieber, both incumbents, have won re-election after absentee ballots were counted over the past two days - but there are no certified winners yet in the Town of Fallsburg supervisor and town board races.
Democrat John Pizzolato conceded in his Town of Highland supervisor race against Haas, a Republican who, after absentee ballot counts, won by 15 votes. Haas held a 25-vote lead after the polls closed on Election Day.
In the Town of Thompson, Rieber, a Democrat, had a close call with Republican challenger Scott Mace. Rieber held a 76-vote lead after polls closed on Election Day
Rieber told The SullivanTimes today that, in the end, he won by approximately 100 votes.
"Absentees (counted today) were 102 for me and 81 for Scott (Mace)," Rieber said.
"I'm glad the race is over," he said. "Now it's back to the business of running the town. There is definitely quite a list of things to get done."
Mace, who has served on the town board for a decade, was arrested by New York State Police in May 2021. He continues to face two felony charges and one misdemeanor stemming from possession of oxycontin, as reported exclusively by The SullivanTimes.
L-R: Council member Scott Mace, Council member Melinda Meddaugh, Supervisor Bill Rieber and Council Member John Pavese at Town of Thompson Board meeting on Tuesday night.
The Town of Fallsburg supervisor race between Democrat incumbent Steve Vegliante and Preserve Sullivan candidate Katherine Jane Rappaport is now in State Supreme Court, as both candidates have filed legal challenges.
Vegliante held a 406-vote lead after polls closed on November 2.
There was a hearing held this morning before Judge Mark Meddaugh, that also included the two incumbent town board members running with Vegliante (Democrats Nathan Steingart and Michael Bensimon) and the two candidates running on Rappaport's slate: Miranda Behan (Working Families/Taxes Too High) and Republican Sean Wall-Carty. Although Rappaport was not running as a Republican, she enjoyed the full support of the Sullivan County Republican Committee and the local GOP campaign apparatus known as "Team Schiff" that's operated by Sheriff Mike Schiff and Undersheriff Eric Chaboty.
The Vegliante slate is being represented by A. Joshua Ehrlich, an Albany-based attorney who specializes in election law. He said he could not comment at all. Rappaport, Behan and Wall-Carty are being represented by attorney James Curran. The SullivanTimes left him a voice mail late today seeking comment.
As for the Town of Highland, Pizzolato told The SullivanTimes today:
"I hope that the supervisor finds a way to work with everyone and that support of my campaign doesn't lead to a vendetta or vengeance towards anyone who supported me. Now, more than ever, people are watching."
Pizzolato said that he withdrew his court challenge that was filed late last week, in which he questioned the integrity of four ballots. The questionable ballots that Pizzolato was challenging was reported exclusively by The SullivanTimes and involved three relatives of Haas. Those ballots were thrown out by the Board of Elections, Pizzolato said, but it did not change the outcome of the race.
In a Facebook post today, Haas wrote:
"Being your Supervisor is a responsibility I don’t take lightly, but also an honor and a privilege. I will continue to work tirelessly for the Town of Highland, to be responsive to the needs of all, and to make certain that we are a destination for home owners, weekenders, businesses and visitors alike. "
Yesterday, Pizzolato congratulated Haas.
"I wish you nothing but success in uniting our town, identifying our common goals, and making a place for everyone to thrive," Pizzolato wrote on Facebook. "Please, no one be discouraged. For everyone who feels left out of the system, not included, looked over--we see you and we aren't going anywhere. We will continue to fight the good fight, to be 'good trouble', and to contribute as neighbors. "
(THIS IS A DEVELOPING STORY)