George Heidcamp, formerly one of the most outspoken players on the Saugerties political scene who has been more reserved since becoming president of the School Board, was unanimously selected by the Ulster County Conservative Party to head up the Saugerties committee on Monday, July 29.
Heidcamp, 66, held the post for 18 years before stepping down several years ago, when he was replaced by then vice-chair Mark Knaust. In a statement released the day after the vote, Knaust wrote: “Due to demands on my time I’ve decided to step down as chairman of the Conservative Party in Saugerties. The party is fortunate in that its former chairman, Mr. George Heidcamp, has agreed to step up and assume his former role. My stepping down does not mean I will not be active in local politics or in advancing common sense conservative solutions to our many problems. I am particularly interested in preventing Albany’s plans to legalize gambling and the prospect of a casino coming to Saugerties. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the conservatives in the town who have supported me the past few years. It has been an honor to serve you.”
Heidcamp’s ascendancy to the chair could prove to be bad news for Supervisor Kelly Myers, who received over 400 votes on the Conservative Party line in 2011. She and Heidcamp had a very public exchange in the local papers around the New Year, with Heidcamp writing that the supervisor’s handling of the town budget shows she was either “ignorant” or “incompetent” and Myers firing right back, disagreeing with Heidcamp’s characterization of the budget and accusing him of years of “bullying” behavior.
The party has not yet announced its 2013 caucus date. In recent years, it was held somewhere in the range of late-August to mid-September. So far, no one has announced an intent to seek the nomination, though a likely opponent for Myers would be conservative activist Gaetana Ciarlante, who has already sought the Republican and Democratic nominations.