Many races set at packed town of Hudson caucusThere were enough candidates nominated at a standing-room-only town of Hudson caucus that an on-the-spot primary election was needed for one of the supervisor posts. Town officials said they hadn’t seen this kind of turnout since the dispute over the Hudson dog racing track.
By: Bob Burrows, Hudson Star-Observer
There were enough candidates nominated at a standing-room-only town of Hudson caucus that an on-the-spot primary election was needed for one of the supervisor posts.
Of those three candidates, a former supervisor who could not be present at the caucus, Kernon Bast, got 89 votes, followed by Todd Mullinax with 68 and Dan Williams with 52. A primary is needed whenever more than two candidates are nominated, such as in last Tuesday’s session.
For town chairman, longtime incumbent Jeff Johnson will be challenged by Gregg White. For the other supervisor post, another longtime incumbent, Tim Foster, will face hopeful Dave Bartizal. Both of the new candidates have experience on the town planning and zoning committee.
Town Board members had speculated that longtime resident Dick Kinney, who has been requesting many documents related to pay rates of town workers and officials, would run for chairman. Both town officials and backers of Kinney’s efforts had been asking their supporters to show up for the caucus.
Once the time came, and the numbers crowding into the corners of the Town Hall creeped near 300 even before the 6:30 p.m. start, Kinney didn’t put his name into the hat. Rather, he made another nomination, saying it was done “with pleasure” and that “there is a need for change.” Dave Ostby, a supervisor who was elected chair of the caucus, called the elaboration out of order.
Town officials said they hadn’t seen this kind of turnout since the dispute over the Hudson dog racing track. “I’ve been on the board for 20, or almost 30 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Ostby said.
When the need for a primary came up, people were divided into two lines to vote, based on the initial with which their last name starts on polling lists. That drew a few sighs of displeasure from people who needed to switch the lines that already had formed.
Ostby said that there were people present who were not residents, and that people’s addresses needed to be verified. He announced that the two lines were being redone to aid efficiency and speed of voting. It still took over a half-hour.
Ostby said they wanted to do the voter-verification right, and as a comparison made a joking reference to the Al Franken-Norm Coleman debacle, which drew some chuckles.
Once everyone had gotten in the door, two voting “tellers” needed to be selected for counting ballots, and after Ron Raymond stepped aside, the two named were Lon Feia and Sarah Wang.
The number of people in the hall likely exceeded official fire-department limits, but some town officials said that in light of what had been going on with the Minnesota recount, there was no way they were going to turn people aside. There have been times that response to such a situation has been used to aid political causes, such as when Somerset was debating rock concert rules, said Brian Wert. He is building inspector for both the town of Hudson and Somerset.