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New mayors for Mayfield, Canajoharie, Speculator

Hagaman runs out of ballots after record election turnout

March 16, 2011
By JOHN R. BECKER, The Leader-Herald

Voters in three villages elected new mayors Tuesday, ousting incumbents in Mayfield and Canajoharie and elevating a longtime trustee in Speculator, while voters in Hagaman turned out in record numbers to elect two trustees.

Mayfield's Joseph "Jamie" Ward earned a four-year term as mayor, defeating incumbent Harvey Hart, and voters returned two incumbent trustees to their seats.

Canajoharie incumbent mayor Leigh Fuller was toppled by Francis Avery, a town and village justice who won as a write-in candidate, and an unopposed trustee candidate also lost to a write-in.

Article Photos

Karen O’Donnell of Mayfield fills in her ballot during Monday’s election.

The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan

In Speculator, voters elected Letty Rudes, a longtime trustee, and turned back the incumbent mayor's bid for a seat on the village Board of Trustees.

In Hagaman voters re-elected one of two trustees while coming out in droves, causing the village to run out of ballots.

Candidates in Broadalbin, Fort Plain, Fultonville, Nelliston, Palatine Bridge, St. Johnsville and Ames were unopposed.

Fact Box

Village election results



Joseph "Jamie" Ward 78

Harvey Hart 54

Trustee (2)

Thomas Ruliffson 100

Joseph Garrigan 96

Paul Czuprik 36


Trustee (2)

Rodney F. Kowalczyk 141

Robert T. Krom 140

Michael W. Purtell 112

John J. Hassfurter III 79



Letty Rudes 88

Robert "Shorty" Hoffman 57

Trustee (2)

Karen McComb 100

Cheryl Paestella 91

Munro Collie Smith 69



Francis Avery 189

Leigh Fuller 43

Trustee (2)

John Snyder 152

Esther Simpson 100

Stanley Smith 117

Northville, Fonda, Fort Johnson and Dolgeville will have elections next year.


Ward won a four-year term as mayor by unseating incumbent Harvey Hart by an unofficial count of 78 to 54.

Incumbent trustees Thomas Ruliffson and Joseph Garrigan withstood a challenge from Paul Czuprik. Ruliffson received 100 votes, Garrigan 96 and Czuprik 36.

Ward, a director for Office Max, said today he is looking forward to working with the trustees.

"We'll have a strong partnership," he said. "It's a great, cohesive group."

Ward said he wants to move ahead with business development in the village.

"I'd like to build partnerships with local and even national business people," he said.

Ruliffson said this morning he is looking forward to working with the new mayor.

"He'll have some new ideas," Ruliffson said.


A record-tying voter turnout in Tuesday's village election meant the last 57 voters couldn't use the optical scanner machine, but the outcome was decisive enough that the glitch won't affect the results.

Incumbent trustee Rodney F. "Ram" Kowalczyk and first-timer Robert T. "Tom" Krom won four-year terms as trustees. They beat Michael W. Purtell and incumbent trustee John J. Hassfurter III and will be sworn in April 4.

Kowalczyk received 141 votes, Krom 140, Purtell 112 and Hassfurter 79.

"I'm looking forward to working with the board, possibly to improve the road conditions," Krom said. "I'm delighted that the village residents supported me."

Kowalczyk won his second four-year term on the board of trustees. He said he looks forward to working with Krom, mayor Martin Natoli and the rest of the board.

A total of 257 people voted Tuesday. Village Clerk Virginia Salamack said the village had only 200 ballots that could be used in the optical scanner machine. The remaining 57 voters filled out paper ballots and put them in a ballot box.

The voter turnout was the highest since 2003, when the same number of voters cast ballots.


Munro Collie Smith will be out of politics after not running for election as mayor and losing his bid for trustee.

Rudes, a village trustee since 1984, won the mayoral race with 88 votes, defeating Robert "Shorty" Hoffman, who received 57. She'll begin her four-year term April 1.

Rudes, who is retired, previously operated the Village Motel and was treasurer for the Lake Pleasant Central School.

Cheryl Paestella won a fourth term for trustee, where she'll be joined by Karen McComb. McComb was the leading vote-getter with 100. Paestella received 91.

Smith, who had been mayor for 14 years, received 69 votes in his attempt to join the Board of Trustees.


Fuller lost what was thought to be an uncontested election for a second term, as Avery received 189 write-in votes to Fuller's 43.

Avery, who is a town and village justice, has resigned both positions in order to take over as mayor.

Political newcomer Esther Simpson, who was running unopposed for a trustee position, also lost to a write-in candidate. Stanley Smith received 117 votes to Simpson's 100.

Incumbent trustee John Snyder won re-election with 152 votes. He was unopposed.

Barbara Cook and Bill Pitcher contributed to this story. John R. Becker can be reached at



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