The campaigns for seats on the Town Boards of both Patriot and Vevay, as well as for Town Clerk-Treasurer positions, are taking shape, as Vevay Republicans have selected their slate of candidates for the November 5th election and Democrats will select their slate in Patriot tonight (Thursday, August 15th) and in Vevay this Tuesday, August 20th.
Instead of primary elections, on years when town elections are held, if there are more than three candidates from a political party who have filed for town council spots; or more than one candidate from a party who files to run for clerk-treasurer of the town, then each party must hold a town convention, where voters of each party meet, hear information about the candidates, and then vote for each slate.
For Republicans in Vevay, Tuesday night’s town convention was to select the three candidates for the Town Board seats, as four candidates: Mark Graham, Dawn Naylor, Chris Riley, and J.J. Sullivan had filed.
After each candidate was given the chance to address those in attendance, a vote was taken, with Graham, Riley, and Sullivan emerging as the three candidates.
County Republican chairperson Lisa Fisher said that each candidate was given five minutes to introduce themselves to the convention attendees. She said that there were 63 people in attendance at the convention, and following the opening statements, those who had registered were given the chance to vote for up to three candidates. Voters also had the opportunity to ask questions of the candidates. Voting was open until 8 p.m.
Once voting closed, the ballots were counted and the three highest vote getters were announced.
Fisher said that Riley was the leading candidate, garnering 57 votes; followed by Graham with 50 votes and Sullivan received 46 votes. Naylor, who was completing her first term on the town council, finished with 18 votes Tuesday night and will not be a part of the Republican slate in November — but Fisher praised her hard work for the community over the past four years.
“She’s worked very hard during her term and she’s tried to do what’s best for the town,” Fisher said. “The people should appreciate all of the hard work she put in.”
Fisher said that she was told by officials in the courthouse that this was the first time that Vevay Republicans have ever had to old a town convention, noting that if there weren’t enough candidates to force a convention, then there was no need to hold one. “I’m just really glad that people are getting involved in the process,” she said. “There were people who told me that there probably wouldn’t be 20 people there, but 63 showed up. It shows that people are interested in what happens in the town.”
She said that the reason that Vevay and Patriot hold town conventions is that neither town has ever passed an ordinance to hold a primary election, similar to what the county does.
Vevay Republicans will also have a candidate for Town Clerk-Treasurer, as Brandi Scudder Bear was the only person to file, and she will automatically move on to the November election. Fisher said that she placed Bear’s name on the convention ballot on Tuesday night even though it was not necessary, and she still received 48 votes even without an opponent.
“I’m sure that everyone would have voted for her if they would have thought,” Fisher said. “People tend to focus on the contested races.”
Fisher said that she was given a list of eligible convention voters, those residents who had chosen a Republican ballot in the last election. As residents entered the convention on Tuesday, they were asked to sign a “Declaration of Party Support” in order to receive a ballot. By signing it, a person states that they intend to vote for a majority of the party’s candidates in the fall election.
She also noted that it is a misdemeanor for someone to try and vote in the town conventions for both parties — so those who voted on Tuesday night in the Republican convention are now not eligible to vote this coming Tuesday in the Democratic convention.
Tonight (Thursday), it’s the turn of Patriot Democrats, who will meet at Patriot Town Hall at 6:30 p.m. to select their candidate for the Patriot Town Clerk-Treasurer post. There are two candidates: incumbent Linda Fisk and Beverly Mathews.
The winner in tonight’s town convention will join fellow Democrats Dwight Murdock, Elizabeth Thomas, and Theresa Winter on the November ballot.
Republicans in the Town of Patriot will not have a town convention, as there are two candidates for the Town Board seats: Nicole Renyer and Tony Rider. There is also no Republican candidate for the Clerk-Treasurer position.
This Tuesday, Vevay Democrats will complete the town convention process, as they will select three candidates to appear on the November ballot from four prospects.
Jamie Hayes, Kevin Hayes, Keith Smith, and Andy Truitt have all filed for Town Board seats, so three of those candidates will move forward.
The Vevay Democrats also have just one candidate for Clerk-Treasurer, Natalie Graham Dickerson. She will now be on the November ballot.
The Vevay town convention for Democrats will be held in the Switzerland County Courthouse, and will begin at 6:30 p.m.