By LOHR McKINSTRY
---- — TUPPER LAKE — The race between Tupper Lake resident John Ellis and Felix Catena for one of the judgeships in the Fourth Judicial District of the State Supreme Court is now too close to call.
As of Thursday, Montgomery County Court Judge Felix Catena was leading Franklin County Family Court Magistrate John Ellis by only 61 votes.
Because some counties did not complete their counts until early Wednesday, Catena appeared to be the winner on Election Night.
Catena got 135,616 votes and Ellis 135,555 votes in the unofficial count.
”I haven’t lost,” Ellis said by email Thursday. “I am tied with Felix Catena.”
Ellis said he hopes absentee ballots will make him the winner when the recanvass is held.
Thousands of absentee ballots are outstanding in the 11 counties that make up the 4th Judicial District, so the race might not be decided until later this month.
The Fourth Judicial District includes Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery, Saratoga, Schenectady, St. Lawrence, Warren and Washington counties.
Four seats were open, and the definite winners are incumbent Supreme Court Justice Joseph Sise, Schenectady Family Court Judge Christine Clark and Rotterdam attorney Thomas Buchanan.
Sise, a Republican from Montgomery County, received 157,695 votes; Clark, a Democrat from Schenectady, got 145,230 votes in unofficial results; and Buchanan, a Republican from Rotterdam, had 141,738 votes.
The unsuccessful candidates were Democrats Mark Powers, a Schenectady County Family Court judge; Jeffrey Wait, a Saratoga Springs City Court judge; and John Silvestri, an attorney from Chestertown and former Schroon Lake resident.
The justices will serve 14-year terms at $174,000 a year, after three years of raises starting this year.
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