Last-minute campaigns and write-in candidacies making Election Day interesting in Ithaca

November 3, 2015 by Mark H. Anbinder

Polls are open from 6am to 9pm in the State of New York for today's General Election. Ithaca and surrounding towns in Tompkins County have a few big uncontested races, with write-in candidates making things interesting, and a couple of races for unfinished terms.

Two county board races are out of the ordinary this year, arising because two legislators left office with their terms unfinished. Kathy Luz Herrera stepped down from her 2nd District seat in mid-September, and Nathan Shinagawa left his 4th District seat upon changing his residence, moving elsewhere in the City.

Shinagawa is actually one of two announced candidates for Herrera's unfinished 2nd District term, and he's running on the Democratic party line against Anna Kelles, running on the Ithaca Community line.

Anna Kelles, running against Nathan Shinagawa for Tompkins County legislator. Photo provided.Anna Kelles, running against Nathan Shinagawa for Tompkins County legislator. Photo provided.

For the 4th District, Cornell student and longtime area resident Elie Kirshner is running on the Democratic ticket to fill Shinagawa's seat, challenged by Rich John, who had vied for the Democratic nomination against Kirshner and is now encouraging supporters to write in his name.

For Ithaca's Common Council, Democratic nominee Ducson Nguyen is facing Ithaca Downtown candidate Sean Gannon for the 2nd Ward alderman seat. In the 1st Ward, George A. McGonigal is running on the Democratic ticket against Ithaca New Cynics candidate James T. Lukasavage. Other Common Council races are uncontested.

Phoebe Brown is running a write-in campaign against City of Ithaca mayor Svante Myrick, saying a democratic society should not have an incumbent, however popular, running unopposed for re-election. The local activist is running on a platform of saying "yes to transparency, yes to diversity, yes to affordable housing, yes to living wages, and yes to local jobs," and she says she believes in "promoting tourism in a way that everyone benefits and not just the developers." Supporters who are registered to vote in the City of Ithaca can write in "Phoebe Brown" on the bottom row of their ballot.

For the Town of Ithaca, William Goodman is running unopposed to replace Herb Engman as town supervisor. Engman is retiring. Pamela Bleiwas, Eric Levine, and Rod Howe are running for three town council seats.

The big race in the Town of Lansing is between Democratic candidate and incumbent Kathy Miller and Republican nominee and challenger Edward J. LaVigne for town supervisor. Rick Hayes, Katrina Binkewicz, Andra P. Benson, and Connie M. Willcox are running for two town council seats.

In the Town of Dryden, Democratic party nominee Jason Leifer and Independence party candidate Craig R. Schutt are running for town supervisor.

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