By JOE LoTEMPLIO
---- — PLATTSBURGH — After the opening of absentee ballots on Monday morning, Kimberly Davis has emerged as the apparent winner in the Independence Party primary for Clinton County treasurer.
Davis picked up 58 votes in absentee ballots Monday to just four for Susan Polhemus. The final tally, pending certification, showed Davis with 137 votes to 89 for Polhemus, according to the Clinton County Board of Elections.
“I am very happy about this,” Davis told the Press-Republican.
Polhemus, who will be running for treasurer on the Republican ticket in November, was the only candidate listed on the Independence Party ballot on Primary Day. Davis, the Democratic and Working Families Party candidate, submitted petitions with the required number of signatures to make the contest what is known as an “opportunity to ballot” race.
That means that registered Independence Party voters could either vote for Polhemus or write in any name they wanted.
On election night, Polhemus tallied 85 votes, and there were 86 write-ins. The write-ins were counted last Wednesday, and the count then showed an 85-to-79 lead for Polhemus with 71 absentees to be counted.
Nine absentee ballots were blank and not counted.
Davis said she spent a lot of time educating voters about the write-in and absentee-ballot process.
“I think it was a combination of meeting with a lot of people face to face and explaining about the electoral process and talking about my qualifications,” she said
“You do have to get out there and let people know about the election, but if you don’t have the qualifications, they probably won’t vote for you.”
Davis ran for treasurer in 2007 and lost in a close race to Republican Joseph Giroux. The incumbent is retiring and not seeking re-election.
Davis was working as the branch manager for Glens Falls National Bank when she decided to step down earlier this year to concentrate on running for treasurer.
She said it was an educated decision that helped give her time to get out to meet more voters.
“I know how well I did last time I ran, and I am more well-known in the community now, having worked with a lot of people and getting out there and going to more community events,” she said.
‘WILL FORGE AHEAD’
Polhemus, a member of the Peru Town Council, said her loss disappointed her, but she will forge ahead.
“If you look at the qualifications, I still think I am the most qualified candidate, and now I have to get out there and get the word out,” she said.
“It is a big county, but I am ready for it.”
Polhemus has 30 years of experience in finance, having worked as the assistant to the Peru town supervisor from 2003 to 2006, and in the finance department at Lake Champlain Transportation Company.
READ BY 1 VOTE
The counting of absentees also turned out a reversal in the outcome of the Area 4 Independence Party race for a seat on the Clinton County Legislature.
Colin Read, who trailed Gerard Renadette by five votes after write-ins were counted, picked up six absentee ballots, while Renadette received none, to win by one vote with a count of 22 to 21.
Renadette was the only candidate listed on the primary ballot.
Read will also be on the Democratic and Working Families party lines, and Renadette will be on the Republican and Conservative party lines on the November ballot.
Read said he worked hard to connect with Independence Party voters.
“I think people wanted some local control and say about who their candidates were going to be,” he said.
“We had a sense that people were receptive to our message.”
Renadette said he also worked hard for the primary.
“Anybody that tells you they are not disappointed in something like this is lying, but the voters have spoken, and we have to abide by the results,” he said.
“We will just have to go out there and work harder and meet as many of the voters we can for November.”
In the Peru Town Council race, James Douglas emerged as the winner in the Independence and Conservative party primaries.
Douglas won the Independence Party race with 23 votes over Donald McBrayer, who had 18 votes. McBrayer was the only listed candidate on the ballot.
Douglas received 15 write-in votes and eight absentee ballots, while McBrayer receive no write-ins or absentee votes.
In the Beekmantown Town Council race, Michael Morales won apparent victories in the Independence and Conservative party races over Sherman Dubrey, the listed candidate in both races.
Morales tallied 24 votes with write-ins and absentees to beat Dubrey, who had a total of 12 in the Independence race.
In the Conservative race, Morales got eight total votes to two for Dubrey.
In Saranac, where there were no listed candidates in the Independence Party primary for highway superintendent, James Facteau got one write-in vote and 22 absentee-ballot votes to win with a total of 23.
Facteau also won the Conservative Party race with three write-ins and 11 absentee-ballot votes for a total of 14.
In the Conservative Party race for a Saranac Town Council seat, Sam Tedford won with three write-ins and 11 absentee-ballot votes for a total of 14. There were no listed candidates on the ballot in that race either.
In Dannemora, Mark Siskavich won the Independence Party primary with a total of 10 votes with one write-in and nine absentees. He beat Lloyd Clukey, the listed candidate, who had just one vote on election night.
Board of Elections Commissioner Susan Castine said the primary results would probably be certified with the state in about a week.
The final ballot for the November election for races around Clinton County should be ready by Oct. 10.
Town parties still have until Sept. 25 to fill vacancies on their ballots.
Email Joe LoTemplio:firstname.lastname@example.org