Challenge to Birdsall nomination rejected

THURMAN - Independent town supervisor candidate Evelyn Wood, a Republican, challenged the nomination of Thomas Birdsall as the endorsed Republican candidate for the town of Thurman based on the fact he - chairman of the town G.O.P committee - and one other person cast the two sole votes in a town caucus that placed himself on the ballot.

Wood challenged Birdsall's nomination on the basis that a mere two votes - one of them representing a conflict of interest - shouldn't be sufficient to nominate a candidate. She said the caucus should have been open to all Republicans, and the meeting should have been publicized. If Birdsall hadn't voted for himself, the result would have been one vote for his candidacy, not representing a majority of the caucus, she said.

Wood's challenge, however, was declined by the Warren County Board of Elections after a hearing was held on her objections.

Republican Elections Commissioner Mary Beth Casey said that because of the town of Thurman's status under the election law, and since Thurman has only one election district, two committee members was the proper number of caucus members for the town. The county election commissioners ruled the caucus was conducted legally.

Wood decided in July to run for the post soon after former Supervisor Red Pitkin resigned from the position. The timing of Pitkin's resignation blocked a Republican primary race, so Wood - an enrolled Republican - launched her campaign as an independent candidate, while Birdsall waited until after the election to run, by declaring his committee's chosen candidate for the ballot - a committee of two, himself and Ed Binder. Birdsall has said he didn't declare a candidacy sooner, because he wasn't intending to run until several people urged him to.

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