Supervisors split vote in county legislature race

By HEATHER NELLIS

heather.nellis@recordernews.com

A single Conservative vote in Tuesday's primaries moved the Montgomery County District 2 legislator election to November.

Outgoing Minden Supervisor Thomas Quackenbush beat outgoing Palatine Supervisor Brian Sweet in the Republican primary for the seat, 150-132.

But, Sweet defeated Quackenbush by one vote in the Conservative race, 4-3, according to unofficial results.

It's a little deja vu for Sweet, if one recalls his win over Don Mead in late 2008 for his current position.

"This is the second time I've been on the right side of a one-vote win," said Sweet. "I'm obviously a little disappointed I didn't win the Republican line, but as long as the numbers stand, I'll be on the Conservative line. It just goes to show you every vote does count."

Had Sweet lost both races, Quackenbush would have all but clinched his spot on the new legislature to be seated Jan. 1. Quackenbush will be running on both the Republican and Democratic lines.

"With all this change, I don't think it's healthy not to have some experience on the new board," said Quackenbush. "Whether it's me or Brian, I'm comfortable knowing one of us will bring that to the legislature. I don't think people will get a bad choice either way."

"If I win in November, I'll look forward to continuing my service, this time for the people of District 2," Quackenbush continued. "It'll be different, because I'm so used to being at the town level, too."

District 2 will represent the village of Fort Plain, the town of Palatine (which includes the village of Nelliston but not the village of Palatine Bridge), and the western half of the town of Mohawk.

Sweet's one term as Palatine supervisor is the extent of his political experience.

Quackenbush, a former assessor and mayor of Fort Plain, has been Minden's supervisor since 2002.

Both Sweet and Quackenbush made the decision to seek election as legislators, as the supervisor role will change for the first time in Montgomery County's history Jan. 1, when a voter-approved charter will take effect.

Town supervisors will no longer serve as ex-officio members of county government. Supervisors will still be elected for the county's 10 towns, and those supervisors' roles will continue at the town level. But they will no longer serve the county's government as they have.

Instead, nine legislators will be elected from nine districts across the county to serve county government.

Sweet and Quackenbush are one of two pairs of sitting Montgomery County supervisors to square off in the general election.

Outgoing Amsterdam 4th Ward Supervisor Barbara Wheeler faces outgoing 2nd Ward Supervisor Jeffrey Stark in the general for District 7.

In the Conservative primary Tuesday, Barbara S. Wheeler secured her nomination with 10 votes. The election board's website says there were 4 write-ins, but does not identify for whom they were cast, though Stark had an opportunity to ballot filed on his behalf to mount a write-in campaign.

In other county election news, in the countywide Conservative primary for county executive, Matthew L. Ossenfort, the endorsed candidate who appeared on the ballot, secured his nomination with 122 votes.

The election board's website says there were 22 write-ins, but does not identify for whom they were cast, though Ossenfort's opponent Dominick Stagliano had an opportunity to ballot filed on his behalf to mount a write-in campaign.

In the general election, Ossenfort will additionally appear on the Republican and Independence party lines, and Stagliano as a Democrat.