November 11, 2009
Truxton Democrat defeats incumbent town supervisor
Absentee ballots decide town races, Legislature contest
Absentee ballots counted Tuesday unseated an incumbent Truxton town supervisor, returned a Republican legislator to office and left three races tied.
Democrat Frank O’Donnell unseated incumbent Republican Gregory Lockwood for town supervisor.
But a Truxton Town Board seat will have to be filled by appointment in January after candidates tied — one of three tie races announced Tuesday by county Election Commissioners Bob Howe and Tom Brown.
Republican Adam Aldrich and Democrat Edward Hartnett each received 223 votes for Truxton Town Board, Hartnett via write-in.
The write-in votes on absentee ballots for Truxton were in addition to write-in votes cast on Nov. 3 at polling places. Hartnett said he plans to ask for a recount to make sure the write-in votes were counted fairly. He said town Democratic Chair Randy L’Hommedieu will ask the Board of Elections for a recount this week.
In Cuyler, a Town Board seat was a tie between Democrat Donald Beattie and Republican Michele Newton. The town of Scott had a tie as well, but it did not matter since the two board seats went to the top two vote getters. The two ended up with the same number of votes.
The absentee ballots also gave incumbent County Legislator Newell Willcox the victory in Homer’s 9th Legislative District.
Howe said the state Board of Elections told him that the ties in Truxton and Cuyler produced a “failure to elect.”
“The new Town Board will have to appoint someone to the empty seat as of Jan. 1,” Howe said. “That term will run until Dec. 31, 2010. The parties can caucus in the fall to nominate candidates, for the other three years of the term.”
Willcox, a Republican, originally was not going to seek re-election, after a challenge disallowed his petitions because he had not witnessed all of the signatures.
The Republican Party did not endorse him, choosing to back Bea Nilsson. But Nilsson died in September and the party threw its support behind Willcox.
Willcox received 12 absentee votes, bringing his total vote count to 227. His Democratic opponent, Jeffrey Currie, received seven absentee votes, for a total of 202.
Aldrich received nine absentee votes. Hartnett ended up with 10 absentee write-in votes after two of his votes were disallowed by Howe and Brown.
O’Donnell emerged as the winner in the town supervisor election, due to his party’s write-in campaign. He received 11 write-in votes on absentee ballots to give him a total of 229 votes, beating Lockwood’s eight absentee votes and total of 213.
Democrats sent out two mailings, asking for write-in votes, after the Republicans kept them off the ballot by challenging the public notice for the Democrats’ Sept. 17. caucus.
Incumbent Republican Lloyd Sutton Jr. was the top vote getter in the four-candidate council race, with nine absentee votes to give him a total of 265. Democrat Nick Fono had 10 absentee votes to go with 124 other write-in votes cast on Nov. 3.
Sutton congratulated O’Donnell after Howe announced the vote totals.
“I’m surprised and grateful for the support,” said O’Donnell, a local manager for Frontier Telephone. “I anticipated the write-in process being tougher than it was. We had an excellent turnout.”
O’Donnell said the Democrats mailed two requests to residents to vote for them by write-in. The second mailing included a sample ballot that showed how to write in a name.
O’Donnell said he could not call the write-in votes a backlash against the Republicans, since Town Clerk Kimberly Reakes, who actually challenged the Democrats’ place on the ballot, and her husband, Jeffrey, the town highway superintendent, both won handily.
Brown and Howe disallowed the town supervisor vote on one absentee ballot.
In Cuyler, a town council seat was a tie between Newton and Beattie, each receiving 154 votes total. Beattie had eight absentee votes and Newton had seven. Incumbent Republican Russell Smith was the top vote getter with a total of 194 votes. There were 31 absentee ballots in Cuyler.
Incumbents Andrew Fuller and Dana Brown tied with 125 apiece for the top two Town Board seats. Both are Republicans. Scott had 22 absentee ballots.
To read this article and more, pick up today's Cortland Standard
Click here to subscribe