The election for Otsego County treasurer in November will be a rematch of the contest in 2009, with incumbent Democrat Dan Crowell climbing back into the ring to face GOP-backed Edward Keator Jr. of West Oneonta.
Crowell’s pivot — he had taken himself out of the race in July even though his name was to remain on the ballot — came after Acting Treasurer Russ Bachman tossed in the towel in what had been his quest to prove he had enough valid signatures on nominating petitions to earn a ballot berth.
Local Republicans had questioned the legality of numerous signatures garnered by the Bachman campaign, and in the end Bachman conceded those petition flaws were fatal to his candidacy.
County Democrats will now shift their support to Crowell. Bachman, an unaffiliated independent, said he is behind the sitting treasurer whose term was interrupted this year by military service “100 percent.”
In 2009, Keator, who has since been named the village of Cooperstown’s treasurer, garnered 6,149 votes to 6,305 for Crowell.
Bachman’s chances of replacing Crowell were sent reeling when Republicans noticed that many of the signatures his camp collected were on petitions circulated by Democrats who had earlier signed Crowell’s petittons. That rendered those signatures invalid, according to a lawsuit that Cooperstown lawyer Martin Tillapaugh brought against Bachman and the county Board of Elections on behalf of Keator’s supporters.
Bachman, an Edmeston resident with considerable money management experience in the private sector, agreed to give up his candidacy once it became clear that he did not have the 909 legally valid signatures he needed to stay on the November ballot.
His abrupt exit from the race, expected to be enforced by a court order, leaves Democrats in a position of promoting Crowell as their candidate less than two months after Crowell said his military obligations prompted him to withdraw from the contest.