Absentee ballots to determine controller's contest

By ALISSA SCOTT

alissa.scott@recordernews.com

The race for Amsterdam city controller was too close call Tues-day night and will have to wait until absentee ballots are counted.

According to unofficial results, Matthew Agresta, a Republican, received 1,424 votes while Democrat Irene Collins received 1,337 votes to fill out the term left vacant by the passing of former Controller Ronald Wierzbicki.

There have been 213 absentee ballots from city voters returned to the Montgomery County Board of Elections. Of those absentees, 100 are Democratic and 85 Repub-lican, which could sway the result in either candidate's favor.

Both candidates said the race is too close to call.

"I'll just have to keep hoping and praying," said Collins, who has 30 years of accounting experience. "We'll see what happens."

"Until it's official, from the board of elections, I won't say anything either way. I'm not walking down that road," said Agresta, who has a degree in finance but has yet to work in the field professionally.

Democratic Committee Chair-woman Bethany Schumann-McGhee said it's unlikely Collins will collect the majority of the absentee votes.

"There's no reason to believe that the outcome of the absentees will be dramatically different than the outcome of the general," said Schumann-McGhee. "So, if Matt Agresta won [at the polls,] it's generally consistent in the absentees."

She said the absentee votes could play a larger role in the outcome if either candidate paid more attention to those voters.

"The absentee ballots fall in relatively close parameters to the outcome of the general election," Schumann-McGhee said. "Some-times one candidate -- and I don't think either one did in this race -- will focus or campaign to the absentees. They'll campaign to the nursing homes, they'll solicit them. That didn't happen here."

Heather Nellis contributed to this report.