Press-Republican

November 7, 2013

Three Democratic supervisors defeated in Essex County

By LOHR McKINSTRY Press-Republican
Press-Republican

---- — ELIZABETHTOWN — Unofficial results from Tuesday’s general election in Essex County knocked five incumbents off the Board of Supervisors, including three out of six Democrats.

Voters also removed all four women from the board.

Results could change in Minerva, where incumbent Democratic Supervisor Sue Montgomery Corey is losing by only 8 votes to independent challenger Stephen McNally.

McNally is a registered Democrat who lost the primary to Corey but narrowly won the general eleciton, 192 to 184.

Essex County Republican Election Commissioner Allison McGahay said they have 37 absentee ballots out for Minerva, with 23 received back as of Tuesday.

Absentee ballots will be accepted up to seven days after the election, she said.

Countywide, 600 to 700 absentee ballots will be counted, McGahay said.  

The official recanvass, when absentee and other special ballots are counted, is all day Wednesday, Nov. 13. The Minerva count is slated for 9 a.m.

‘IT’S UNREAL’

Essex County Democratic Party Chair Bethany Kosmider said the Minerva supervisor race will likely be decided at the recanvass.

“We’ll be watching not just the Minerva race closely, but all the races that were close. We had outstanding supervisors that lost, four of whom are women. People chose to vote the way they voted.”

Kosmider said there’s always another election to work toward.

“We (Democrats) will continue to put up good candidates. It’s only two years until the next election for supervisor.”

If the Minerva results stand, it will be the first time in 34 years that no woman has served on the Essex County Board of Supervisors, Moriah Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava said Wednesday.

In 1980, Mildred Dobie of North Hudson and Florence Hathaway of Willsboro were the first women members, followed by Joyce Morency of St. Armand in 1981.

“There’s been a woman on ever since,” Scozzafava said. “It’s unreal.”

‘AN ODD QUIRK’

Scozzafava said he’s been on the Board of Supervisors for 25 years.

“I’ve always served with women on that board. They bring a whole new perspective to local government.”

Essex County Republican Party Chair Ronald Jackson said he thinks voters are beyond looking at races based on gender.

“Each town looked at their candidates and picked the one they thought was best,” he said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if Sue Montgomery Corey was back on. It (women losing) was an odd quirk. It is kind of an unusual thing.”

He said voters generally vote based on what they see as the issues and who will address them best.

“It’s been an interesting year. Every town had its issues.”

‘PRETTY GOOD NIGHT’

Defeated in the election, unofficially, were Supervisors Margaret Bartley in Elizabethtown, Sharon Boisen in Essex, Debra Malaney in Ticonderoga, Corey in Minerva and Edward Hatch in Willsboro.

Democrats Bartley, Hatch and Malaney will be replaced by Republicans, Boisen by another independent, and Democrat Corey by an independent, who would probably serve on the board as a Democrat. 

New supervisors, if results stand, will be Republicans Noel Merrihew III in Elizabethtown, Shaun Gillilland in Willsboro and William Grinnell in Ticonderoga and independents Edward Gardner in Essex and Stephen McNally in Minerva. 

McNally is a registered Democrat who is expected to serve on the board under that party.

Only incumbent Supervisor Daniel Connell in Westport, a Democrat, retained his post.

“It was a pretty good night for Republicans, picking up three seats, two new and Noel going back on,” Jackson said Wednesday. “It will change the flavor of the board.”

‘PREPARED FOR ANYTHING’

The remaining Democrats are Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas of Jay and Supervisor Gerald Morrow of Chesterfield. 

Douglas ran unopposed, and Morrow was not up for re-election this year.

This year’s elections were the first for McGahay and Essex County Democratic Election Commissioner Mark Whitney, and it went well, McGahay said.

“We were prepared for anything. We’re very happy at the Board of Elections.”

Once the polls close, sealed bags containing voting-machine memory cards with the results must be quickly delivered to the Board of Elections.

“We had extra (voting) machines at polls,” McGahay said. “The Sheriff’s Department and Ticonderoga and Moriah police departments helped to get those bags to us. 

“We were thrilled with how it worked. We had results to voters online before 11 p.m.”

Email Lohr McKinstry:lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com