POUGHKEEPSIE – A heated three-way Democratic primary for the Poughkeepsie councilmember-at-large position appears to have incumbent Sarah Salem winning over fellow councilmember Chris Petsas and political newcomer Da’Ron Wilson. Salem captured 458 votes, roughly 39 percent of the turnout.
“I’m feeling proud to have won the Democratic primary. I am so grateful and honored that my City of Poughkeepsie community re-elected me as their Democratic candidate to continue to serve as Councilmember At-Large,” said Salem, adding that Wilson and Petsas both had well-run campaigns.
Wilson garnered 374 votes and Petsas received 327. Wilson said, “I’m a firm believer in the process and the people of Poughkeepsie have spoken. I congratulate my opponent on the victory.”
Petsas was disappointed in the low voter turnout for a citywide race and the results. “I hope that next year’s council will prove to be more united in advancing our city forward. Time will tell,” said the veteran lawmaker who currently represents the first ward. Petsas is term-limited and cannot run for his current seat in November.
In the First Ward, several candidates sought the Democratic line for the position being vacated by Petsas. Poughkeepsie School Board Vice-President Debra Long bested four other candidates by receiving 37 percent of the vote. “I will continue to build on this momentum as we head to the general election in November,” said Long while thanking the voters. “A special thank you to Chris Petsas, Natasha Cherry, and Jonathan Jacobson for supporting and endorsing me.”
In Poughkeepsie’s Third Ward, Democratic incumbent Lorraine Johnson captured 52 percent of the votes cast, fending off two challengers. In Ward Four, former Council Chair Ann Finney and Industrial Development Agency Secretary Nathan Shook battled for the Democratic line when incumbent Democrat Sarah Brannen announced that she was not seeking re-election. Shook bested Finney by a vote of 169-90. In Ward 7, Nedra Thompson won the Democratic line over Deborah Reeves-Duncan 67-58.
The race for the Democratic ballot line in Ward 8 is undecided. When Councilman Matt McNamara resigned in early June, the ballots were already printed and his name was on the ballot for Tuesday. He was challenged by Alana Ward, while Democrat Sakima McClinton waged a write-in campaign. Ward garnered 82 votes, McNamara received 28 even after announcing his resignation and there are 108 write-in ballots that remain to be counted.