hill country observerThe independent newspaper of eastern New York, southwestern Vermont and the Berkshires






Here are the candidates and referendum questions on ballots for the Nov. 4 federal and state elections across the region. Because of space limitations, uncontested races are not included. A guide to political party abbreviations is at right. Incumbents are marked with an asterisk (*). Polls are open on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Massachusetts, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in New York and at least 10 a.m. (earlier in many locations) to 7 p.m. in Vermont. Voter registration deadlines are Oct. 15 in Massachusetts, Oct. 10 in New York and Oct. 29 in Vermont.





Charles Baker and
Karyn E. Polito (R)

Martha Coakley and
Stephen J. Kerrigan (D)

Evan Falchuk and
Angus Jennings (UI)

Scott Lively and
Shelly Saunders (i)
Jeff McCormick and
Tracy Post (i)


Brian J. Herr (R)
* Edward J. Markey (D)


Maura Healey (D)
John B. Miller (R)


David D’Arcangelo (R)
Daniel L. Factor (GR)
* William Francis Galvin (D)


Deborah B. Goldberg (D)
Michael J. Heffernan (R)
Ian T. Jackson (GR)


* Suzanne M. Bump (D)
M.K. Merelice (GR)
Patricia S. Saint Aubin (R)

Ballot Propositions


Question 1 -- Eliminate gas tax indexing
A Yes vote would eliminate the current requirement that the state’s gas tax be adjusted annually based on the Consumer Price Index. Proponents say the gas tax, which was 24 cents per gallon as of September 2013, should not increase unless the Legislature specifically votes to raise it. Opponents say a Yes vote would inevitably lead to a reduction in funding for the state’s roads and bridges.


Question 2 -- Expand the bottle bill
A Yes vote would expand the state’s beverage container deposit law, which already applies to beer and soda bottles, to require deposits on non-alcoholic, noncarbonated beverages such as bottled water and sports drinks. The revised law also would allow the state’s environmental affairs secretary to adjust bottle deposit fees every five years and create a Clean Environment Fund with unclaimed bottle deposits.
Proponents say a Yes vote would lead to more recycling and less litter by expanding the state’s nickel deposit law to cover more types of beverages. Opponents, led by beverage companies and supermarket chains, say curbside recycling programs are more effective and economical than the bottle deposit system. Supporters of the bottle bill, however, say many people do not have access to curbside recycling.


Question 3 -- Prohibit casinos
A Yes vote would essentially repeal the 2011 law, backed by Gov. Deval Patrick and much of the state’s political establishment, that allowed for casino gambling in Massachusetts. Although developers have offered a series of casino proposals, no casinos are actually up and running yet, and voters in a series of proposed host communities have rejected them.
Proponents of the ballot question, led by a group called Repeal the Casino Deal, say the potential economic benefits of casinos have been overstated and that the social and other costs of gambling aren’t worth it.
Opponents of the ballot question say the state’s current law should be preserved to allow communities the opportunity to host casinos, which they say would create jobs and retain revenue from residents who now gamble out of state.


Question 4 -- Mandate sick time for employees
A Yes vote would require public and private employers with 11 or more employees to allow each employee to earn and use up to 40 hours of paid sick time per calendar year. Smaller employers would have to provide the same number of hours of unpaid sick time. Employees would earn 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked.
Proponents say the law would ensure that all Massachusetts workers are able to take time off to care for their own and their family members’ health.
Opponents, led by the Retail Association of Massachusetts, say the mandate would be too costly to small businesses and taxpayers.


State Attorney General Martha Coakley prevailed in a three-way Democratic primary last month, winning 42 percent of the vote to become the party’s nominee to succeed two-term Gov. Deval Patrick.
But Coakley, who famously lost a special election for U.S. Senate in January 2010 after a lackluster campaign, now finds herself locked in a tight race with Republican Charles Baker, a former health insurance executive and state budget chief under former Govs. William Weld and Paul Cellucci.
By the beginning of October, with Coakley’s campaign fund depleted by the competitive primary and her incoming donations lagging Baker’s, The Boston Globe reported that members of the state’s all-Democratic congressional delegation were being asked to contribute at least $25,000 apiece from their own campaigns to prop up Coakley’s effort.
Although early polls and many analysts had rated Coakley as the clear favorite in heavily Democratic Massachusetts, the state’s recent history includes a string of Republican governors: Weld, Cellucci and Mitt Romney. Expect Baker to adopt the campaign theme of Patrick’s three GOP predecessors: casting himself as a counterweight to the fiscal and other excesses of the state’s otherwise one-party rule.
In the only U.S. Senate race in the region, polls show incumbent Democrat Ed Markey with a commanding lead in his bid for his first full term. Markey, previously the dean of the state’s U.S. House delegation, won a special election last year to fill the remainder of longtime Sen. John Kerry’s seat after Kerry was appointed secretary of state. His GOP challenger, Brian Herr, is a town selectman in Hopkinton.
In the race for attorney general, Democrat Maura Healey, a former assistant attorney general, is considered the heavy favorite to win the seat being vacated by Coakley. The big surprise came in last month’s primary, when Healey handily defeated Warren E. Tolman, a former state senator who had the support of much of the state’s Democratic establishment. Healey now faces John B. Miller, a lawyer from Winchester.
In all four state House seats and the lone state Senate seat covering Berkshire County, incumbent Democrats are unopposed. Berkshire County District Attorney David F. Capeless, a Democrat, also is unopposed for re-election.



Rob Astorino and Chris Moss (R, C, SC

Steven Cohn and Bobby K. Kalotee (SA)

* Andrew Cuomo and Kathy C. Hochul (D, I, WE, WF)

Howie Hawkins and Brian P. Jones (G)

Michael McDermott and Chris Edes (L)


Robert Antonacci (R, C, SC)
John Clifton (L)
* Thomas P. DiNapoli (D, I, WE, WF)
Theresa M. Portelli (G)


John Cahill (R, C, SC)
Ramon J. Menez (G)
Carl E. Person (L)
* Eric T. Schneiderman (D, I, WE, WF)


U.S. REPRESENTATIVE -- 19th District
(11 counties including Columbia and most of Rensselaer)
Sean S. Eldridge (D, WF)
* Christopher P. Gibson (R, C, I)


U.S. representative -- 20th District
(Albany, Schenectady, southern Saratoga and parts of Montgomery and Rensselaer counties)
James M. Fischer (R, C)
* Paul D. Tonko (D, I, WF)


U.S. representative -- 21ST District
(11 counties including Warren, Washington and northern Saratoga)
Matthew J. Funiciello (G)
Elise M. Stefanik (R, C, I)
Aaron G. Woolf (D, WF)

State Supreme Court Justice -- 3rd District
(Columbia, Rensselaer, Albany, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster counties)
Justin O. Corcoran (D, I)
Lisa M. Fisher (R, C)

State Senate

43rd district (Columbia County and parts of Rensselaer, Saratoga and Washington counties)
Brian F. Howard (D, WF)
* Kathleen A. Marchione (R, C, I)

49th district (Fulton, Hamilton and parts of Herkimer, Saratoga and Schenectady counties)
* Hugh T. Farley (R, C, I, SC)
Madelyn C. Thorne (D, WF)

State Assembly

106th district (parts of Columbia and Dutchess counties)
* Didi Barrett (D, I, WF)
Michael N. Kelsey (R, C)

107th district
(parts of Columbia, Rensselaer and Washington counties)
Philip J. Malone (D, WF)
* Steven F. McLaughlin (R, C, I, SC)


108th district (parts of Albany, Rensselaer and Saratoga counties)
Carl R. Gottstein Jr. (R, C, LJ)
* John T. McDonald III (D, I)


112th district (parts of Saratoga and Schenectady)
Jared B. Hickey (D)
* James N. Tedisco (R, C, I, SC)


113th district (parts of Saratoga and Washington)
Steve Stallmer (R, C, I)
Carrie Woerner (D, WF)


The most closely watched races so far in eastern New York have been the competitive U.S. House contests in the 19th and 21st congressional districts. Both are considered swing districts, but both races have been trending Republican as the fall campaign has unfolded.
In the 19th, Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, is seeking a third term in a district that stretches south and west from Rensselaer and Columbia counties to the Pennsylvania border. He faces Sean Eldridge, an investor and Democratic political activist with a home in Ulster County.
Eldridge, 28, previously served as communications director and later as political director of Freedom to Marry, an advocacy group for same-sex marriage rights. He is married to Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes. But despite the early expectation that his deep pockets and political connections would make for a highly competitive race, Eldridge has struggled to gain traction. A mid-September poll showed him trailing Gibson, 50, a former U.S. Army paratrooper, by 24 percentage points.
The contest in the 21st district, an open seat where Democratic Rep. Bill Owens is retiring, has been somewhat more volatile. But the political infrastructure in the district favors Republicans, and two September polls showed the GOP’s Elise Stefanik leading with at least 45 percent of the vote in the three-way race. Both Stefanik, a former White House aide, and Democratic candidate Aaron Woolf, a filmmaker, have somewhat tenuous ties to the district, which stretches from Washington and northern Saratoga counties to the Canadian border and west to Lake Ontario. (They both claim homes in Essex County.) The Green Party candidate, Matt Funiciello, runs a bakery and cafe in Glens Falls.
Incumbent Democrats are considered the heavy favorites for all of the statewide races on the ballot, although the September primary revealed that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has some problems with his base. His little-known and poorly funded primary challenger, Fordham Law School professor Zephyr Teachout, won 34 percent of the primary vote and carried nearly half of the state’s counties, including a swath of eastern New York from Putnam County to the Canadian border.
Cuomo’s main challenger, Republican Rob Astorino, has strong support from gun rights activists angry over the tough new gun-control law the governor pushed through after Newtown, Conn., school shootings. But statewide polls in September showed Astorino, the Westchester County executive, trailing the governor by more than 20 percentage points.
As in other recent elections, control of the closely divided state Senate could be up for grabs. Although Democrats hold more seats than Republicans in the 62-member chamber, the Senate has been ruled for the past two years by a coalition of Republicans and four breakaway Democrats.
The only race locally that might figure into Senate control is in the 43rd district, where Sen. Kathleen Marchione, R-Halfmoon, is seeking a second term. Marchione defeated fellow Republican Roy McDonald in a primary two years ago with the help of social conservatives angry over McDonald’s vote in favor of same-sex marriage. This year, she faces a challenge from Democrat Brian Howard, a longtime school superintendent who has served stints in Queensbury, Troy and Berlin.
Of the area Assembly races, the most competitive is for an open seat in the 113th district, where Republican Steve Stallmer, a former lobbyist and aide to U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, faces Carrie Woerner, a Round Lake village trustee and manager of a software company in Saratoga Springs. Woerner won 47 percent of the vote two years ago against then-incumbent Tony Jordan, a Republican who later resigned after being elected to a new job as Washington County district attorney last year.




Pete Diamondstone (LU) of Brattleboro
Cris Ericson (i) of Chester
Dan Feliciano (L) of Essex
Scott Milne (R) of Pomfret
Bernard Peters (i) of Irasburg
Emily Peyton (i) of Putney
* Peter Shumlin (D) of East Montpelier


Lieutenant governor
Marina Brown (LU) of Charleston
Dean Corren (P, D) of Burlington
* Phil Scott (R) of Berlin

U.S. Representative
Matthew Andrews (LU) of Plainfield
Mark Donka (R) of Hartford
Cris Ericson (i) of Chester
Randall Meyer (i) of Marshfield
Jerry Trudell (E) of Charleston
* Peter Welch (D) of Norwich


State treasurer
Murray Ngoima (LU) of Pomfret
* Beth Pearce (D) of Barre
Don Schramm (P) of Burlington


Secretary of state
* James C. Condos (D) of Montpelier
Ben Eastwood (P) of Montpelier
Mary Alice Herbert (LU) of Putney


Attorney general
Rosemarie Jackowski (LU) of Bennington
Shane McCormack (R) of Underhill
* William H. Sorrell (D) of Burlington


Bennington District (two seats)
Brian Campion (D)
Warren H. Roaf (R)
* Dick Sears (D)


Rutland District (three seats)
William Tracy Carris (D)
Brian P. Collamore (R)
Anissa DeLauri (D)
* Peg Flory (R)
* Eldred French (D)
* Kevin J. Mullin (R)
Kelly Socia (VP)


State House


Bennington District 1 (towns of Pownal and Woodford)
* Bill Botzow (D)
James A. O’Connor (i)


Bennington District 2-2 (two seats; town of Bennington)
Joann Erenhouse (D)
Kiah Morris (D)
* Mary A. Morrissey (R)

Bennington District 4 (two seats; towns of Arlington, Manchester, Sandgate and Sunderland)
Steve Berry (D) of Manchester
* Cynthia Browning (D) of Arlington
Tony Dupont (R) of Manchester
Judy Livingston (R) of Manchester


Bennington-Rutland District (towns of Dorset, Landgrove, Peru, Danby, Mount Tabor)
Mary Barrosse-Schwartz (D) of Dorset
* Patti Komline (R) of Dorset


Rutland District 2 (two seats; Clarendon, Proctor, Tinmouth, Wallingford and West Rutland)
* Tom Burditt (R) of West Rutland
* Dave Potter (D) of Clarendon
Ted Schaft (L) of Proctor
Michael Stimpfel (D) of Clarendon


Rutland District 4 (town of Rutland)
Lori A. Mesli (D)
* Thomas P. Terenzini (R)


Rutland District 5-1 (city of Rutland)
James P. Candon (D)
* Peter Fagan (R)


Rutland District 5-3 (city of Rutland)
John E. Mattison Jr. (R)
* Herb Russell (D)


Rutland District 5-4 (city of Rutland)
Sherri Durgin-Campbell (D)
* Douglas Gage (R)


Rutland-Bennington District (Middletown Springs, Pawlet, Rupert, Wells and Tinmouth)
Robin Chestnut-Tangerman (P, D) of Middletown Springs
Valerie Legh Harriss (R) of Wells

Rutland-Windsor District 1 (Bridgewater, Chittenden, Killington, Mendon)
* Anne L. Gallivan (D) of Chittenden
Job Tate (R) of Mendon

Windham-Bennington District (Readsboro, Searsburg, Stamford, Dover, Somerset, Wardsboro, Whitingham)
Philip Gilpin Jr. (i) of Dover
* John Moran (D) of Wardsboro
Laura Sibilia (i) of Dover

* Erica Albin Marthage (D) of Manchester
Kevin A. Rambold (i) of Manchester


* Marc D. Brierre (R) of Rutland Town
Rose Kennedy (D) of Rutland City

As in New York, Democratic incumbents are favored in most of the statewide contests in Vermont. The exception is the race for lieutenant governor, where incumbent Republican Phil Scott has the upper hand. Republicans didn’t bother to field candidates for state treasurer, auditor or secretary of state this year.
The GOP also struggled to recruit a candidate to challenge Gov. Peter Shumlin until Scott Milne, the head of a travel company, stepped forward in June. Milne has criticized Shumlin over his handling of the state’s health care exchange, but he faces an uphill climb against the two-term incumbent. As of Oct. 1, Shumlin’s campaign reported having more than $1 million on hand compared with about $40,000 for Milne.
Republicans hope to make gains in the Legislature, although Democrats hold such lopsided majorities in both chambers that they are expected to retain control easily. In most districts, incumbents are favored to win, so the greatest potential for change is in districts with open seats.
In the state Senate, there is an open seat locally in Bennington County, where Sen. Robert Hartwell, D-Dorset, is stepping down. And in Rutland County, Sen. Eldred French, D-Shrewsbury, will be running for the first time for the seat he was appointed to last year.
Among local races for the state House, there are open seats in Bennington District 2-2, Bennington District 4 and the Rutland-Bennington District.

-- Compiled by Fred Daley