Ryan Romps

Gardiner’s Pat Ryan will be the Democratic nominee if a special election for county executive is held in April after solidly defeating Kingston’s Patrice Courtney Strong at the party’s nominating convention Wednesday night. Former Woodstock Supervisor Jeff Moran had also announced but was not nominated.

Ryan, who finished third in a seven-way race for the Democratic nomination for congress last year, beat Strong, a candidate for state senate, by a 58-42 margin. Political conventions use weighted voting which reflects the number of party members voting in the previous gubernatorial election. Ryan had 16,117 votes, Strong, 11,660.

But Ryan’s victory may not be definitive. First, the county legislature has to call a special election. No Republican has come forth as yet to challenge the Democratic nominee. Republicans will meet in convention at Ulster town hall on Saturday at 10. a.m. First assistant district attorney Michael Kavanaugh is expected to be nominated to run against Democrat David Clegg to succeed the retiring Holley Carnright.

Nominating conventions will also be held in June where unlike with the special election, primaries will be possible.

Strong would not comment on whether she will challenge Ryan in June. Almost 75 percent of the 306 Democratic Committee members voted at convention Wednesday night at Best Western Plus Hotel in Kingston Eighty were not in attendance. Crowd count was estimated at near 300 with people standing four deep at the walls as sleet produced dangerous driving conditions outdoors.  

The convention also nominated Clegg for district attorney and Bryan Rounds for county judge. The convention nominated candidates in 19 of 23 legislative districts. Democrats currently hold a 12-11 majority. There was one contest, in Saugerties, where former legislator Chris Allen defeated town councilman John Schoonmaker 541-629 for a seat now held by Joe Maloney. Maloney, an independent, chose not to seek a second term after defeating Allen with Republican endorsement two years ago.

The city Democratic committee met before the county where incumbent Mayor Steve Noble was endorsed for a second term with no opposition. Ninth Ward alderman Andrea Shaut was nominated for alderman-at-large to succeed James Noble, who is retiring after 18 years.