A newcomer to the political scene in the Town of Patterson and a one-term incumbent came out on top during last Tuesday’s Republican primary that determined the town board for next year.
Mary Smith, a longtime resident but first time candidate, and current Councilman Peter Dandreano were the two top vote getters in the GOP contest with former councilman Joe Capasso falling short of getting back on the board. With no Democrats running, Smith and Dandreano are expected to take councilperson seats on Jan 1, 2018.
Smith, who is a transportation supervisor for the Brewster school system, received the most votes with almost 40 percent of Republicans selecting her (165). Dandreano, who has served for four years, got almost 36 percent of the vote (142) and Capasso followed up in the rear with 26 percent of the vote (110).
While this is the first time Smith ran for a town board seat, she previously tried to earn a seat on the Carmel Board of Education. She ran for the school board in May, but came in third place out of the four candidates that ran. Smith said when she met with voters, they told her they wanted change and a town board member more active in the community. Her campaign consisted of her and a few friends, she said but she was proud to make a strong impression on residents.
She believes her openness and sincerity was a draw to voters.
“I was pretty confident but coming out on top was really a surprise to me,” Smith said. “Because I just felt these two (candidates) were in this game for a long time and here I just come out of left field.”
She’ll be the first Patterson female councilperson since Ginny Nacerino, who is now the chairwoman of the Putnam County Legislature.
Dandreano thanked supporters for voting him back in and said he was excited to get back to work. With so much time dedicated to campaigning, he said he was now looking forward to working on programs that have already started on his watch.
When asked about Smith–a first time candidate–earning the most votes, Dandreano gave her credit for her arduous work ethic. He admits it can be tough to run a campaign without the local GOP committee’s endorsement. (Dandreano and Capasso were the GOP endorsed candidates.)
“She knocked on doors, put up signs and met with people,” he said. “So that’s the key to winning people over.”
For Capasso, this was his third straight GOP primary where he was the odd man out. He ran against former supervisor Michael Griffin in 2011 with former state lawmaker Greg Ball backing him and lost by three votes. Then he ran against current Supervisor Rich Williams in 2015, but was beaten and then he missed out on a town board seat this year.
Capasso, who is the owner of Beaver Creek Farm, was hoping to bring more businesses to the town. When he ran in 2015 against Williams, he said he wanted to “make things happen like Donald Trump, but on a smaller scale.”