Ab­sen­tee bal­lots seal Repub­li­can wins

McLaugh­lin, Man­tello claim vic­to­ries, GOP coun­cil­man falls by sin­gle vote

The Record (Troy, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Mark Robarge mrobarge@troyrecord.com @Mark_Ro­barge on Twit­ter

TROY, N.Y. » A sec­ond day of count­ing ab­sen­tee bal­lots was all that was needed to de­cide two of the hottest races on the bal­lot in Rens­se­laer County this year.

County elec­tion of­fi­cials dove into ab­sen­tee bal­lots from the city of Troy on Tues­day, end­ing the day not only with fi­nal vote tal­lies in a pair of city races, but also a con­ces­sion from the Demo­cratic can­di­date for county ex­ec­u­tive.

An­drea Smyth called her op­po­nent, Repub­li­can Assem­bly­man Steven McLaugh­lin, to fi­nally con­cede the race early Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, af­ter the count of ab­sen­tee bal­lots for about a third of the city’s 30 elec­tion dis­tricts only trimmed 10 votes off a McLaugh­lin lead that was nearly 950 votes on Elec­tion Night. While McLaugh­lin de­clared vic­tory that night, Smyth chose to wait for the ab­sen­tee count, hop­ing for a shot of sup­port in the city, which has a solid ma­jor­ity of Demo­cratic vot­ers.

“It feels like a bit of re­lief, a bit of run­ning the gaunt­let, be­cause we cer­tainly did,” McLaugh­lin said out­side the county of­fice build­ing Mon­day af­ter­noon. “We were up against it, we were out­gunned, but we were never out­worked.”

While McLaugh­lin said Repub­li­cans na­tion­wide had to deal with a back­lash from vot­ers unhappy with the party since it took both the White House and both houses of Congress one year ago, he said he be­lieves he sur­vived be­cause he has al­ways been on the side of the peo­ple who voted him into of­fice for a third time since

first win­ning a seat in the Assem­bly in 2010 by oust­ing in­cum­bent Demo­crat Ti­mothy Gor­don.

“One thing I have done in my seven years in the Assem­bly is I have stood up strong for my con­stituents,” McLaugh­lin said, “and I will fight like a wolver­ine to pro­tect them. I think they re­ally paid div­i­dends in this race. Peo­ple may not al­ways agree with Steve McLaugh­lin, but they know I’m go­ing to fight for them.”

Mean­while, Troy City Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Carmella Man­tello man­aged to with­stand

a Demo­cratic surge on Elec­tion Day that turned a 6-3 GOP coun­cil ma­jor­ity into a 5-2 Demo­cratic ma­jor­ity, at least for the mo­ment. Man­tello’s 40-vote Elec­tion Night lead over Demo­cratic county Leg­is­la­tor Gary Pavlic was never threat­ened, fin­ish­ing un­of­fi­cially with a 46-vote mar­gin of vic­tory.

“I’m just grat­i­fied that so many peo­ple came down off that Demo­cratic line,” Man­tello said af­ter Tues­day’s count was com­pleted. “With nine com­pet­i­tive city­wide races, I was for­tu­nate enough to be cho­sen to rep­re­sent the peo­ple of Troy as the first City Coun­cil pres­i­dent that folks elected di­rectly [as the re­sult of a

change in the City Char­ter that abol­ished two other at­large coun­cil seats].”

While the GOP held on to the coun­cil pres­i­dency, it lost an­other coun­cil seat Tues­day, as Demo­crat Cindy Bar­clay saw a 14-vote Elec­tion Night deficit turn into a sin­gle-vote vic­tory over in­cum­bent Dis­trict 2 Coun­cil­man Mark McGrath. That race may still not be over, though, be­cause each party chal­lenged three of the bal­lots, leav­ing three votes that could still be al­lowed by a judge if McGrath chooses by Fri­day to chal­lenge those re­moved by Democrats.

“I want to con­grat­u­late my op­po­nent and her team,” said McGrath, who was run­ning for a sec­ond

two-year term in his sec­ond stint on the coun­cil. “They got folks reg­is­tered and to the polls. Give credit where credit is due. It was an honor to serve so many years, but ev­ery­thing has a shelf life.”

If McGrath’s loss stands up, that would leave the new coun­cil with just two in­cum­bents: Man­tello and Dis­trict 1 Repub­li­can Coun­cil­man James Gulli, who won re-elec­tion over Demo­crat Peggy Kow­nack. They will be joined by Democrats Colleen Murtagh Para­tore, Anasha Cum­mings, David Bis­sem­ber and TJ Kennedy, as well as Bar­clay.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to rep­re­sent­ing the en­tire dis­trict, and I think that’s the

mes­sage that got out there,” Bar­clay said Tues­day af­ter­noon. “It’s not for one party or any vot­ers in par­tic­u­lar; it’s for the neigh­bors, for the com­mu­nity.”

County elec­tion of­fi­cials be­gan Mon­day the task of re­view­ing an es­ti­mated 2,000 ab­sen­tee bal­lots and af­fi­davits. The first day of votes so­lid­i­fied Repub­li­can vic­to­ries in a pair of races in the town of North Green­bush, and now, the only re­main­ing race where ab­sen­tee votes could make a dif­fer­ence is in the town of Sand Lake, where Demo­crat Vir­ginia Erick­son leads Repub­li­can Stu­art Nippes, 1,489-1,447, in the race for the sec­ond of two avail­able seats on the Town Board.


Troy City Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Carmella Man­tello, cen­ter, keeps track of re­sults in her re-elec­tion cam­paign as ab­sen­tee bal­lots are counted Tues­day at the Rens­se­laer County Board of Elec­tions.


Rens­se­laer County Leg­is­la­tor Gary Pavlic and Troy city Demo­cratic chair­woman Ca­role Weaver, re­view ab­sen­tee vote num­bers in the race for Troy City Coun­cil pres­i­dent, which Pavlic un­of­fi­cially lost by 46 votes.

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