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October 17, 2013

Candidates to square off in debates

By Joe Mahoney Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — COOPERSTOWN — With the Nov. 5 election less than three weeks away, no debates have been organized for the two candidates competing for the Otsego County treasurer’s job. Of five districts for the county board, four are now scheduled to have debates featuring new candidates vying for those seats.

The first debate scheduled has been set up by the League of Women Voters of the Oneonta Area. That event will showcase the two candidates seeking to replace county Rep. Rich Murphy, D-town of Oneonta, in District 4 — Janet Hurley-Quackenbush, a Republican and a member of the Oneonta town board, and Daniel Buttermann, a Democrat.

That event — to be held from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 23 at the Otsego Grille in Morris Hall at the State University at Oneonta campus — will also feature a debate between the four candidates for two vacancies on the Oneonta town board — Brett Holleran, Patricia Jacob, Andrew Stammel and Fred Volpe.

There will also be presentations from the three candidates for Oneonta Town Justice: Sean Farrell, Dawn Oliver and Bruce Smith.

In an election season that has the potential to alter the balance of power for county government, three more debates have now been scheduled for candidates seeking seats on the Otsego County Board of Representatives. The county board now has seven Republicans and seven Democrats, with the GOP in the majority due to the weighted voting system.

Otsego County Democratic Chairman Richard Abbate said the debates help voters to become familiar with the candidates and their points of view.

“It’s important to have an event where the residents can ask questions of the candidates and get to know their positions on the issues that matter to them,” Abbate said. “A live, open debate is the best way to find out what the candidates really stand for.”

The county’s Republican chairman, Vincent Casale, said he agreed that the debates are a healthy exercise in engaging voters, and that he would like to see all candidates participate.

“Any time, any place, any format, we’re comfortable with anything,” Casale said.

Casale also said a debate would be an ideal forum for Crowell to clarify whether he plans to serve out a full four-year term if he is re-elected as county treasurer.

“He still hasn’t clearly outlined his plan for what he is going to do as far as the future,” said Casale. He pointed to the fact that Crowell earlier announced he would not seek re-election, then reversed himself after the Democratic-backed candidate, Russ Bachman, the current acting treasurer, was knocked off the ballot.

Edward Keator Jr., the GOP-backed candidate for county treasurer and the current treasurer for the village of Cooperstown, said he would look forward to a debate with Crowell. But he noted Crowell has been out of the region due to having been placed on active duty by the U.S. Army Reserves.

According to Abbate, on Oct. 29, incumbent Rep. John Kosmer, D-Fly Creek, will debate Republican challenger Rick Hulse. The time and venue have not been finalized, but Abbate said he expects it will be held at the Otsego County Courthouse in Cooperstown. On Oct. 30, Abbate said, Democratic candidate Edward Lentz of New Lisbon will face Jamie Waters, a Republican from Milford, in a debate that is expected to be staged in Hartwick. The time and venue of that debate haven’t been finalized, Abbate.

There is also now an agreement for incumbent Rep. Beth Rosenthal, D-Roseboom, to face William Glockler, a Republican from Middlefield Center, at a time and venue also yet to be determined.

The race between Stuart Anderson, a Republican running with the Democratic endorsement, and Rep. Kathy Clark, R-Otego, the board’s chairwoman, does not yet have a debate scheduled.