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Branch, Rabideau to square off in mayor race

SARANAC LAKE -The slate of candidates is set for the upcoming elections in the village of Saranac Lake, and apparently there will be a contest for the post to lead the municipality.

On March 16, Democrat Clyde Rabideau will square off with current trustee and Republican Jeff Branch in the race for village mayor.

The Saranac Lake Republican Party's selection of Branch as the candidate for mayor at their Jan. 26 caucus wasn't a surprise, as he was the only member of the group interested in the seat.

But t the caucus wasn't devoid of the unexpected, as about 40 party members plucked a non-Republican for one of the two vacant village board seats.

Of the three individuals interested in running for village trustee, two were registered Republicans, while Elias "Allie" Pelletieri is a registered Conservative.

And when the votes were tallied, NBT Bank financial advisor Diana Howard was the most favored among those in attendance while Pelletieri finished a close second.

For Village Justice, Republicans chose longtime Harrietstown Justice Tom Glover for the vacant four-year post and corrections officer Ken McLaughlin for the two-year Justice seat, vacated last fall by Charles Bell.

Branch said this week the vote for Mayor will test the public's opinion on the community's future growth.

He said that the current board has been too selective in deciding which businesses to allow in the village and that many local residents disagree with a municipal law that all but excludes large national chain stores from setting up shop.

"I have great concerns about the retail size cap," he said. "The community has said they don't want it and it's being forced upon them."

Some Republicans questioned Branch's conservatism because of his involvement in a proposed village law that would ban the smoking and chewing of tobacco in and near all municipal parks.

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