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Tague wins 102nd Assembly seat by 161 votes; O’Connor says it is not the end

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    Contributed photo Chris Tague
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    O’Connor Jr.
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    Republican Assembly District 102 candidate Chris Tague talks to a constituent outside his new campaign headquarters at 414 Main St., Catskill. Tague and his Democratic opponent, Greene County Legislator Aidan O’Connor, D-Durham, will face off in a special election April 24.
May 11, 2018 12:15 am Updated: May 11, 2018 12:15 am

Republican Schoharie Town Supervisor Christopher Tague unofficially won the special election for the 102nd Assembly District after his home county tallied its absentee ballots last week.

The race between Tague and his opponent, Democratic Greene County Legislator Aidan O’Connor Jr., of Durham, was neck and neck. The split between them never exceeded 300 votes since the April 24 special election.

Tague replaces former Assemblyman Pete Lopez, who represented Ravena and Coeymans in the state assembly until leaving last fall for a post with the Environmental Protection Agency. Since that time, the district has not had representation.

The final totals for each candidate are: 9,159 votes for Tague and 8,998 votes for O’Connor, according to the sum of results from the district’s seven counties’ boards of elections. Tague won the seat by 161 votes.

The Assembly district consists of a portion of Albany County, including Ravena and Coeymans, all of Greene County, parts of Ulster County, all of Schoharie County and parts of Columbia, Delaware and Otsego counties.

“With all the votes accounted for, I have, with your support and faith, come out ahead,” Tague said. “Thank you for your vote and belief in me; it has been the most difficult and most humbling experience of my life.”

Tague promised to handle Assembly business 24/7, he said.

“We need a steady voice that is 100 percent committed to our communities and our values, an experienced hand to guide us through whatever the future has in store for us,” Tague said. “This district has been without representation for too long and I’m looking forward to getting our constituent work back on track.”

Tague is hoping the results for the election will be certified quickly so he can go to Albany to start working next Monday, Tague’s campaign manager Nick Wilock said.

Columbia and Schoharie counties were the last to count absentee ballots after five of the seven counties in the district counted the deciding ballots last week.

The 102nd Assembly District was represented by Republican Pete Lopez, of Schoharie, from 2012 until he accepted his new position as the Region 2 director for the Environmental Protection Agency last fall.

In Albany County, O’Connor, the Democrat, edged out Tague in the final count. O’Connor received 725 votes in Albany County, or 48.59 percent of the vote, while Tague tallied 690 votes, or 46.25 percent of the vote. Third-party candidate Wes Laraway received 5 percent of the vote in the county.

Final, unofficial absentee ballot results in Columbia County were 314 votes for Tague and 306 votes for O’Connor, said county Board of Elections Commissioner Virginia Martin.

Final, unofficial results for absentee ballots counted in Schoharie County were 2,532 votes for Tague and 1,686 votes for O’Connor, according to the county board of elections.

Greene County tallied 31 contested votes last Tuesday. O’Connor won 21 of those votes and Tague received nine, according to the county board of elections. Laraway won one of the contested ballot votes.

“I am more inspired today than I was when we started our campaign for the special election,” O’Connor said. “We were only 161 votes, less than 1 percent, of nearly 20,000 votes cast in a district that has never had such a contested race before.

“The credit for that result goes to our incredible supporters who volunteered, worked hard and voted because they believed in our shared vision: putting people before politics, finding practical solutions to local issues and continuing to build upon the foundation of helping others and our communities.”

Before absentee ballots were counted, O’Connor said if he lost this special election, he would consider running for the seat again in November.

“This was only the beginning,” O’Connor said Tuesday. “We are even more energized and motivated for the election in November.”