KINGSTON, N.Y. — Jen Metzger will be the Democratic candidate for Ulster County Executive in the upcoming special election in November.
And if no candidate emerges from other parties within the next two days, she could be the sole candidate running for the seat in November.
Metzger, a former state senator, trounced her opposition in the three-way race for the party nomination, garnering 64.4% of the Democratic committee’s weighted vote at the Democratic Committee Convention on Saturday.
Ulster County Comptroller March Gallagher received 29.7% of the weighted vote while Deputy County Executive Marc Rider came in a distant third receiving a mere 6% of the party’s vote.
Although the Democratic Committee had opted to elect their candidate through rank choice voting, employing that strategy was unnecessary because Metzger received more than 50% of the votes on the first ballot.
Metzger was nominated by Sheriff Juan Figueroa, who called her ” a true leader” who has a talent for “bringing people together and working with others.”
Metzger served on the Rosendale Town Board before being elected to the state Senate in 2018. She was defeated in 2020 by Republican Michael Martucci. In 2022 she was appointed to the Ulster County Land Bank and to the state’s Cannabis Control Board.
Metzger will run in a special election on Nov. 8 to fill the unexpired term of Pat Ryan, who was elected to the 19th Congressional District during a special election on Aug. 23 after defeating Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, a Republican. Ryan resigned as county executive on Sept. 9. He was sworn into Congress on Tuesday.
The special election for county executive is taking place on the same date as the general election. The winner of the Nov. 8 contest will serve through the end of 2023.
Ulster County Republican Elections Commissioner John Quigley has said that the ability to hold the election for county executive at the same time as the general election will save the taxpayers about $300,000, which he said would have been the costs associated with holding a special election in December.
The current acting county executive, Johanna Contreras, was sworn into office on Sept. 9 in a ceremony at the Ulster County Office Building after Ryan’s resignation. She will serve as acting county executive through the end of the year.
Ryan chose Contreras to succeed him in the event he was unable to continue serving as county executive. He had initially chosen Rider but amended the line of succession to, as he said, ensure public trust and make sure there is a clear separation between government and politics.
Quigley has said political parties have until Sept. 19 to file nominating certificates designating their candidates for the election.
Quigley said the Republican Committee’s executive board will select a candidate if someone comes forward who is interested in running for the post. The Conservative and Working Families Party must also nominate a candidate by Sept. 19 in order for that person to make it on the ballot.
Independent nominating petitions must be filed no later than Sept. 23.
Following his defeat Saturday, Rider — who served as deputy county executive under both former county executives Michael Hein and Pat Ryan — said he intends to leave county government following the election.
“I don’t have plans to stay with the county, I’ve been pretty vocal about that,” he said.
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