Johnstown politics undergoing change

JOHNSTOWN – There could be many new faces at Common Council meetings starting next year, as several potential candidates for city offices have emerged.

Candidates in major parties have from July 8 to 11 to file their designating petitions with the Fulton County Board of Elections on Route 29. Independent candidates file from Aug. 13 to 20. Primary day is Sept. 10, and General Election Day is Nov. 5.

County Deputy Election Commissioner Linda Madison noted Wednesday that 64 people have picked up petitions from the board office; often an indicator of a person’s interest in running for office.

In the city, several new faces could emerge with the 2013 elections. Two-time Republican Mayor Sarah Slingerland announced in March she’s not seeking re-election. Three mayoral candidates have already announced – Republicans Helen Martin and Scott Jeffers, and Democrat Michael Julius. Martin is a sitting 3rd Ward councilwoman, Jeffers is a city Water Board member, and Julius is a political newcomer.

According to the Board of Elections, Jeffers and Julius picked up their petitions May 29.

There also could be several new candidates for Common Council seats, starting in 2014.

The elections office says Republican-Conservative Councilman-at-Large Bryan Marcucci picked up petitions May 31. But he said Wednesday he picked up petitions for both councilman-at-large and the 2nd Ward, which is the ward he resides in.

“I may run for just my ward,” Marcucci said.

Republican 2nd Ward Councilman Chris Foss announced in March he will not seek re-election to another four-year term.

Marcucci said he may seek Foss’ seat, but he hasn’t made up his mind yet.

“I want to help downtown a lot, but it’s tough,” Marcucci said.

The elections office said Republican Chris Swatt, who couldn’t be reached Wednesday, picked up petitions May 30 to possibly run for councilman-at-large.

Longtime incumbent Republican 4th Ward Councilwoman Kay Cole said Wednesday she’s not running for re-election. The board office said Cole first took office in January 1998. The 79-year-old Cole said her schedule is getting too hectic between caring for her husband in a nursing home and her city duties.

“I’m going to miss it,” Cole said. “I feel like it’s time to move on.”

Meanwhile, the election office said Republican Edwin Queeney picked up petitions to possibly run for Cole’s 4th Ward seat.

Queeney, a former police officer in Johnstown and Northville, stated: “I want to continue on with the success of Johnstown and attract new businesses.”

The other council seats – 1st Ward occupied by Republican Cynthia Lakata and 4rd Ward occupied by Martin – are not up this year.

But Martin’s seat may become vacant after the start of the year if she’s elected mayor. Madison said under that scenario, it would then be the new council’s option after Jan. 1 to decide whether to replace Martin by appointing someone to her 4th Ward seat, or leave that seat vacant until the fall 2014 elections.