The unofficial election results from Tuesday’s special elections are in, showing the Republican candidates for Assembly districts 102 and 107 ended the night with small leads over their Democratic opponents, leaving the races too close to call before absentee ballots are counted.
In the 102nd Assembly District, Republican Schoharie Town Supervisor Chris Tague closed the night out with 8,547 votes while his opponent Greene County Legislator Aidan O’Connor’s 8,259 votes.
The race for the Assembly’s 107th District seat ended Tuesday night with Rensselaer County Legislator Jake Ashby, R-Castleton, grabbing 7,797 votes with his opponent Rensselaer County Legislator Cindy Doran, D-Troy, receiving 7,517 votes.
The state sent out 2,310 absentee ballots in the 102nd District with 1,324 returned by Tuesday, said state Board of Elections Director of Public Information John Conklin. The state sent out 1,589 absentee ballots for District 107 race with 889 ballots returned by Tuesday.
The last day absentee ballots will be accepted May 7 when boards of elections can count the ballots when they have until May 19 to certify the results.102nd assembly district
The 102nd Assembly District — which consists of all of Greene County and Schoharie County, and parts of Columbia, Ulster, Albany, Delaware and Otsego counties — has not had representation since October 2017 after former Republican Assemblyman Peter Lopez accepted the position of director of the Environmental Protection Agency Region 2.
“I am very pleased with being ahead at the end of election day,” Tague said. “I am confident the numbers will hold up after the absentee ballots are counted.”
Tague started preparing to take office Wednesday, stressing the urgency for the district to have representation after months of having none.
“I am focused on putting a team together,” Tague said. “This district has been without representation since October. I am also reaching out to local officials in all seven counties to discuss the local issues affecting them.”
The O’Connor camp is staying in the race, O’Connor said.
“We’re remaining optimistic,” O’Connor said. “We estimate there are about 1,200 absentee ballots out there and there are still a couple of days left for them to come in.”
No matter the final results, O’Connor said he will run for the seat again in November.
“Yes, I certainly will run again,” O’Connor said. “We have an amazing foundation and our positive and inspirational message focused on local issues is still ringing loud and clear.”
Voters came out to cast ballots in high numbers Tuesday, O’Connor said.
“The turnout was amazing,” O’Connor said. “Right now, government is in such a polarized state, people are watching very closely and want their voices heard. They want to make sure they send someone to Albany who sticks to their principles.”
The 102nd District saw 18,634 votes cast out of the 80,852 active registered votes in the district, a 23 percent turnout rate, according to the election results from the state Board of Elections. Thirty-eight percent of voters districtwide voted for the Democrat, while 34.54 percent voted Republican.
“We live in one of the highest-taxed states in the country and more than 1 million people have left since 2010, many of whom are from rural parts of the state,” Tague said. “I think people are fed up with the corruption in Albany. People are saying enough is enough and want a good official in office.”
Not a lot of precedence exists for election results in the 102nd Assembly District the way it looks now, because redistricting in 2011 changed it from encompassing only part of Dutchess County to consisting of seven different counties, but in 2012 Lopez was the first to win in the new district with 39,659 votes to his opponent’s 18,522 votes, according to election results from 2012. That year, 58,206 people voted. In 2014 and 2016, Lopez ran unopposed and saw a turnout of 42,836 voters and 61,675 voters, respectively.
The turnout in Greene County Tuesday totaled 7,243 voters, the most of any county in the district, out of 29,324 active registered voters, a 24 percent rate, according to election results.
Greene County’s voting trend mirrored the rest of the district, as a whole, showing 41.63 percent of residents voting Democrat and 37.80 percent voting Republican, with O’Connor down 93 votes to Tague’s total. Every county in the district showed a similar trend.
Columbia County showed a 19.5 percent turnout rate for District 102, which includes the towns of Stuyvesant and Stockport, said Columbia County Board of Elections Commissioner Virginia Martin.107th assembly district
The 107th Assembly District, which consists mostly of Rensselaer County and parts of Columbia and Washington counties, was left vacant last November when Republican Steve McLaughlin was elected as Rensselaer County executive.
Doran’s campaign is staying optimistic in the face of a 280 vote split, said Doran’s Campaign Manager Amy O’Connor.
“It is too close for us to concede,” O’Connor said. “We are looking at about 1,000 absentee ballots coming in, so it will not be an easy climb. We are expecting to win a good amount of absentee ballots from Columbia County, because we set up a really good network there and made sure people received absentee ballots and sent them in.”
O’Connor is also waiting for the results of several affidavit ballots, which are submitted when there is a conflict about a voters legitimacy, adding there were several issues in Rensselaer County regarding voters’ information being recorded incorrectly.
The 107th District consists of the towns of Kinderhook, Chatham, New Lebanon, Canaan, Austerlitz and Hillsdale.
The last time Columbia County had a special election was for Assembly District 103 in March 2012, which was the first race won by Democratic Assemblymember Didi Barrett, who now represents Assembly District 106 following redistricting.
Columbia County saw an 18.5 percent turnout rate in that special election, Martin said.
“Turnout is typically low for special elections,” Martin said.
This year’s special election for the 107th District saw a 21.5 percent turnout rate, Martin said.
Barrett beat her Republican opponent by a close 294 votes in the 2012 special election.
“I would say there was a lot of optimism among voters,” Martin said. “Voters are energized right now, especially on the Democratic side.”
McLaughlin ran for the first time for the new 107th Assembly District in 2012, an election that saw 63,116 overall votes, and defeated his Democratic opponent by 1,675 votes. In 2014, McLaughlin won re-election by a wider split, 14,053 votes, with a smaller turnout of 45,370 voters.
McLaughlin ran unopposed in 2016 and 75,822 voters came out for that election.
Ashby did not respond to several requests for comment by press time.