Eskew enters race for County Clerk

By Connor Linskey
Posted 2/3/21

Kelly Eskew, Crawford Town Councilwoman and Orange County Deputy Clerk, has announced that she will run for a four-year term as Orange County Clerk. She says she has relevant experience and passion …

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Eskew enters race for County Clerk


Kelly Eskew, Crawford Town Councilwoman and Orange County Deputy Clerk, has announced that she will run for a four-year term as Orange County Clerk. She says she has relevant experience and passion for the job.

Eskew began her career in politics in 1994 as a tax collector with the Town of Crawford. She served as Crawford Town Clerk from 2002 to 2013 before becoming the deputy county clerk in 2014. In that role, she supervises 80 employees, manages nine departments and oversees a $7 million budget. Since becoming deputy clerk, the county has posted land records from up to 40 years ago online. A Crawford Town Councilwoman since 2017, Eskew has helped make improvements to the town’s parks while keeping the tax rate low. She has also helped to implement the Friendly Visitor Program, which connects volunteers with older adults. During her tenure, the town has expanded its police department’s staff and repaved Routes 17K, 302 and 52.

“I believe I have the local and county experience to be the county clerk,” she said. “My whole career has been as a clerk helping people and that’s the main reason that I do everything that I do. I love helping people and I want to continue to help the people of Orange County.”

The position of county clerk would be a significant step up for Eskew. The county clerk is the chief clerk to the county and supreme court, which entails filing and maintaining court documents pertaining to court cases. In addition, the clerk is chief recording officer and custodian of land records, such as deeds, mortgages and satisfactions. The county clerk is also the state agent for the Department of Motor Vehicles. If elected county clerk Eskew hopes to improve the accessibility of online records.

“People don’t really come in unless they have to, so I want to make it easier,” Eskew said. “I just want to make it a little bit less stressful and more convenient. I think we’ve done a good job of making it that way but I just want to do a bit more. [Good] customer service has always been my goal. Ever since I was town clerk to deputy. That’s my main goal, I like people to be happy.”

Eskew originally sought the county clerk position in 2013, but stepped aside after then-Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt decided to seek the seat. Rabbitt announced on Nov. 17, that she will not seek a third term.

“Annie has served Orange County with dignity and class,” said Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus. “I’m proud to call her a friend and I thank her for all of her hard work and support during her tenure as county clerk. I’ve had the pleasure of working with her closely and getting to know her well. I can say without hesitation that Annie’s number one priority was always providing residents with the most streamlined and efficient services and she has done a fantastic job. I’m sad to see Annie leave but I wish her a well-deserved, adventure-filled retirement.”

Eskew will be opposed by Newburgh City Councilman Anthony Grice. He is running to advocate the city’s needs at the county level. In addition, Grice wants to be the first African American man to hold the office of Orange County Clerk.

“Since 1702 there has never been an African American male in that seat,” he said. “I really think that it’s time for some diversity. I think the people that are there have been doing a decent job but I really think there are some areas where I can bring that voice of the people that has been missing.”

Candidates for county clerk have until March 22 to file their petitions with the Orange County Board of Elections. The general election is slated for Nov. 2 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Early voting will take place from Oct. 23 to Oct. 31.


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