THURMAN - What was a wide-open three-way race just days ago for town supervisor in Thurman became a two-way race Friday night as Democratic challenger Randall Oppitz (D,C) dropped out of the race due to his career involvement.
Oppitz' departure from the race leaves incumbent Lawrence "Red" Pitkin (Ic., I) to be challenged in November solely by long-time assessor Republican Thomas "Tuck" Birdsall.
Oppitz sent the following letter Friday to the Adirondack Journal explaining his action while expressing his views on Thurman politics:
"I want to thank all of my supporters for their endorsements. However, it is with great sadness that I am announcing that I must withdraw."
He said he had written a book about energy medicine and was asked by his publisher to clear my schedule for the next two years and plan on traveling the world promoting his book.
"I was hoping to bring great change to Warren County," he said, citing his objective of launching a movement to convert the regional public school system from district-directed to county-directed.
Oppitz said he was seeking to consolidate schools to reduce expenses that result in the state's traditionally high property taxes.
In the letter, he also said he hoped to "lead the charge" to dramatically lower Warren County taxes by updating its computer systems and reducing the sheriff's department to a bare-minimum force that only operated the jail. Also, he said he'd like to rent out the new $16.9 million Social Services building - not yet finished - to private business. He also said he supports raising bed and sales taxes and applying all proceeds to property tax relief.
Oppitz, 57, lists his credentials as serving as CEO of "Meta-Energy Medicine, Inc." - a company name which wasn't readily found on the Internet - and having earned a divinity degree from World Christian Ministries.
The chair of the Democratic Party, Andy Knoll, could not be reached this week for comment.
Incumbent Supervisor Lawrence "Red" Pitkin, an independent and Independence Party candidate, said that with Oppitz's departure, he had gained the support of the Thurman Democratic Party.
"But just because I'm accepting their endorsement doesn't mean I'm taking on any of their views," he said. "I've got my own independent positions, and they're not going to change based on who supports me."