Absentees Affirm ‘Reform Coalition’ Can Take Control

Absentees Affirm

‘Reform Coalition’

Can Take Control

But Republican Chairman Declares:

GOP Will Construct Working Majority

Democrat Danny Lapin, left, the new county board representative from District 13, City of Oneonta, and Republican Len Carson shook hands after today’s tallies were announced. In the middle is Maguire Benton, former Otsego County Young Democrats chair. (Jim Kevlin/www.AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – Today’s count of absentee ballots confirmed the Nov. 7 election results:  A bipartisan “Reform Coalition” can control the Otsego County Board of Representatives after Jan. 1, if like-minded Republicans and Democrats continue to find common ground.

At the end of an afternoon-long recount, with Lynn Krogh, a partner in Casale Associates, representing the GOP, and Richard Sternberg the Democrats:

  • The current county board chair, Kathy Clark, maintained a narrow District 3 edge against Democratic newcomer Cathy Nardi in Otego/Laurens, 561 to 543.
  • In District 13, the City of Oneonta’s Wards 5 & 6, newcomer Danny Lapin, age 29, a Democrat, kept his lead against Republican incumbent Len Carson. The final tally was 252-247.

This gives the Reform Coalition nine of 14 seats, or a weighted voting advantage of 3,746-2,482.

Strictly along party lines, Republicans and Democrats are tied, 7 seats to 7 seats, but the weighted votes would give the advantage to the GOP, 3,421-2,807.

Republican Elections Commissioner Lori Lehenbauer, left, announces the result of the District 13 county board race. Others, from left, are candidate Danny Lapin; Democratic County Chair Richard Abbate; Bob Fernandez, holding vigil on behalf of his wife, candidate Kathy Clark; Richard Sternberg, representing Democrats in the ballot count; candidate Len Carson; Republican County Chair Vince Casale; and Lynn Krogh, representing Republicans in the ballot count.  With back to camera are Board of Elections staffers Wendy Adee, left, and Laura Curtis.  (Jim Kevlin/www.AllOTSEGO.com)

Clark didn’t make an appearance, but was represented throughout the day by her husband, Bob Fernandez; he called her when the tally firmed up at about 4 p.m.  Nardi, Lapin and Carson held vigil throughout the day in the crowded rear room of the county Board of Elections in The Meadows office building.

“I thank Len for a clean run,” said Lapin. “I want to let everyone know I admire and respect him,” adding, “I’m ready to get to work for my constituents.”

“This race doesn’t define me,” said Carson, who is a retired officer in the Oneonta Fire Department Emergency Squad and proprietor of DC Marketing, which installed digital billboards.  “I’ll be back.”

County Republican Chair Vince Casale characterized the outcome as keeping a Republican majority on the county board, although two members – three, including Carson – were left off a GOP ad that ran the week before the Nov. 7 elections.  “I feel very confident the Republican members will work closely together,” he said, “to continue the good work the majority has done.”

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