This page provides the most up-to-date information on the historic Oxford Town Board Election on November 5, 2013.
Please note that the content on this page is non-partisan. Although we will post results and publish information, we believe that this election is indeed historic (see explanation below) and represents a classic American exercise in community self-determination.
Further, we believe that regardless of whatever political language the candidates may use in speeches, publications, flyers, posters, yard signs, and informal discussions of the issues, this election is ultimately about whether Oxford will allow gas drilling — that is, high volume hydrofracked gas drilling throughout the area.
The three slates offer a clear and distinct choice for the voters, and the election will unequivocally determine which vision of Oxford’s future the community wishes to endorse.
Results of the September 12 Democratic caucus:
Fred Lanfear: Town Supervisor
Board members: Ron Charles and Paul Brennan
The Democratic slate consists of bipartisan challengers who oppose gas drilling in Oxford: Supervisor Fred Lanfear (Democrat) and board members Paul Brennan and Ron Charles (Republicans).
If elected, the Republican slate will maintain a board majority in favor of gSas drilling throughout the town of Oxford: Supervisor Lawrence Wilcox and Board member John Hofman (incumbents) favor gas drilling; Board candidate Ron Charles opposes gas drilling.
Finally, an independent slate of challengers (the Oxford Community party) mirrors the Democratic slate: Fred Lanfear, supervisor, and Board candidates Paul Brennan and Ron Charles.
September 18: Review of the election process to date:
Why the 2013 Town Board Election is historic — the most important election in Oxford for decades:
Last week saw two historic primary elections to determine whether the Town of Oxford becomes the second municipality in Chenango County to pass a moratorium or a ban on gas drilling.
Chenango is the northernmost county among five along the Southern Tier to be opened to hydraulic fracturing if the five-year-old statewide moratorium is lifted and Albany approves the practice.
In February the Village of Oxford became the first municipality to ban gas drilling.
No one can recall any Republican Primary in the town before September 10. On that Tuesday 259 voters turned out to select among three candidates for two open seats on the Town Board.
The following Thursday 108 Democratic voters turned out to nominate their candidates for the two board seats and one to replace Lawrence Wilcox, Town Supervisor for more than a decade. Before September 12 the Democratic caucus turnout never exceeded ten voters.
The earlier June Village Board election was a referendum on gas drilling. Three incumbents who support the February ban won overwhelmingly over pro-gas opponents. The voter turnout in that election exceeded the totals of the five previous village elections combined. Clearly the Village and Town of Oxford take gas drilling very seriously and the turnout for the General Election will also break all records.
Wilcox is also the Chairman of the Chenango County Board of Supervisors. The county government supports fracking.
The stakes November 5 could not be higher.
Here are last week’s results (including absentee ballots):
9/10 Republican Primary two councilman winners
John Hofmann (incumbent) 154
Ron Charles (challenger) 143
(Paul Brennan (challenger) 129; write-ins 3)
TOTAL VOTERS: 259
9/12 Democratic Caucus winners
Supervisor: Fred Lanfear (D) 89 Lawrence Wilcox (R) 18.
#1 councilman Paul Brennan (R) 61 Larry Beckwith (D) 46
#2 councilman Ron Charles (R) 61 Beckwith 41.
TOTAL VOTERS: 108
Lanfear, Brennan and Charles are also running on the bipartisan Oxford Community slate.
November 5 ballot: Lanfear (D) vs. Wilcox (R) for Supervisor
Brennan (D), Charles (R/D) vs. Hofmann (R) for 2 board seats.
Readers will note the anomaly of cross-endorsements in the Democratic caucus. Two Republicans, Brennan and Charles, defeated Beckwith, the Democratic Wilcox board incumbent.
That was also without historical precedent.
The results of the primary and caucus energized both the supporters and opponents of the Wilcox Board.