Across the county, from St. Johnsville to Florida, Amsterdam to Minden, Charleston to Mohawk and parts between, the voters have spoken. And as the fog begins to lift on the decisions they have made, we find a surprising number of races still too close to call, others perhaps decided before the first voter hit the first voting booth, and the mayor of Amsterdam looking up at a GOP majority.
Election Day in Montgomery County rarely disappoints. This one included.
In the race for county executive, the competition apparently was over before the first vote was cast, as newcomer Republican Matthew Ossenfort humbled longtime St. Johnsville politico Dominick Stagliano by more than 4,000 votes, as of Tuesday night's count. In these parts, that's a drubbing.
And while the voters seemed to have their minds made up in the executive race, they appeared unable to make clear decisions in the races for county legislature. The parity here was equally surprising.
Four out of the six contested races for legislature were too close to call as of this morning. The number of votes separating the candidates is fewer than the number of absentee ballots yet to be counted. These include races in District 2 (Thomas Quackenbush leads Brian Sweet), District 5 (Terry Bieniek leads Daniel Wilson), District 7 (Barbara Wheeler leads Jeffrey Stark), and District 9 (Alexander Kuchis leads Robert Purtell).
If the legislature results hold, the nine-member panel will consist of four Republicans, four Democrats, and Minden's Thomas Quackenbush, who ran as a Republican and a Democrat. Talk about splitting it down the middle.
Also too close to call is the race for Amsterdam's city controller, where Matthew Agresta leads Irene Collins by less than 90 votes; Palatine supervisor candidate Sara Niccoli leads Louis "Rusty" Capece by 22 votes, with 40 absentees; and Mohawk supervisor candidates Wayne DeMaille and Edward Bishop are separated by 41 votes.
Of equal interest, in Amsterdam's 3rd Ward Common Council race, Republican Ronald Barone leads Debra Baranello by 32 votes, with 45 absentees still out. What bears watching here is that, no matter which direction the Barone-Baranello race swings, the Republican party will hold the majority in the city. Republican Edward Russo beat Kenneth Mazur, Diane Hatzenbuhler beat incumbent Democrat David Dybas, and Republican Richard Leggiero faced no challenge. If Barone wins, the lone Democrat on the council will be Valerie Beekman, who also ran unopposed. Time will tell if this result is a referendum on Democratic Mayor Ann Thane's handling of recent events. It could certainly slow the mayor's agenda to a crawl.
To the winners, we offer congratulations. To all contestants, we offer thanks for taking part in the process. For those still waiting for the fog to lift, we say stay tuned.