By JIM KEVLIN & LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
The Republicans rained on the Democrats’ parade on Election Night, Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Republican Rick Brockway won Laurens-Otego’s District 3, 697-548, turning back a Democratic effort to take control of the county board for the first time in memory.
“Otsego County is red,” declared a jubilant Republican County Chairman Vince Casale. “It has always been red. It will always be red. People in Otsego County will always reject the extreme liberal agenda that is attempted to be forced upon them.”
County Democratic chairman Aimee Swan had this riposte: “Otsego County is purple. Otsego County voted for (Congressman Antonio) Delgado in 2018. Democrats can win here. Democrats do win here. And Democrats will win here. If Otsego was so red, we would not have a split board.”
During a victory celebration at the Oneonta Vets’ Club, Brockway said, “I’m exhausted. I’m glad it’s over. And I feel really good.” He added, “My family’s always been in politics in Laurens. I was a councilman for eight years. It’s a logical step to go to the county.”
If the margin in District 3 holds, Brockway’s victory over Democrat Caitlin Ogden assures the Republican, allied with Conservative county Rep. Meg Kennedy, Mount Vision, will continue to control county government for another two years.
However, Kennedy can ally on individual issues with the Democrats and shift the majority in that direction, as she likely will as main architect of the county manager form of government.
The county board was expected to vote Wednesday, Nov. 6, on approving a public hearing for its December meeting, after which the concept of professional management could be implemented.
The Democrats had appeared bullish about Ogden’s chances – a Laurens resident, she is a grantsman at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown – particularly following a stealth write-in campaign that knocked Brockway off the Independent line in the June 26 primary.
Brockway, a farrier and newspaper outdoors columnist, would succeed Republican Kathy Clark, a former county board chairman.
In other county races, as expected, incumbent Democrat Michele Farwell, District 2, decisively held her seat over Marcia Hoag, 636-246. And Democrat Jill Basile, District 14, beat Libertarian Wilson Wells, 199 to 48.
“This community has served my family well,” said Basile. “And now, I can serve them back.”
In the City of Oneonta, Republicans Len Carson won the Ward 5 Common Council seat, and Scott Harrington, Ward 6, doubling GOP representation in City Hall. Both are former Otsego County Representatives.
“My goal was always to get here,” said Carson. “I’m going to work hard, not just for my ward, but for the whole city.”
Both pledged to hold Town Hall meetings. “The best way to represent is to get feedback,” said Harrington. “I want to be very open.”
In other races in the Democratic city, two Democrats beat two Republicans: It was Kaytee Lipari Shue over Jerid Goss 157-22, and Mark Drnek over Josh Bailey 102-73.
“This is something I’ve always dreamed about,” said Shue. “I got to shake the mayor’s hand and we started our partnership together. 2020 will be here before I know it!”
And in the Town of Richfield, a Republican triumvirate, Nick Palevsky, Fred Eckler and Ed Bello Jr., turned back one Democrat and two other non-affiliated candidates tied to the Protect Richfield neighbors.
In Richfield Springs, while Palevsky, the former supervisor, led David Simonds, 296-291, the Republican pointed out its only five votes.
“I hope it holds,” he said, noting there are 100 absentee ballots out there. “That’s the only thing I can say right now.”
Usually, it takes a week to count the absentees and affirm the results; this year, he said, with all the changes the state Legislature made in election laws this year, it is expected to take two weeks.
Of Palevsky’s fellow Republican runningmates, incumbent Fred Eckler, with 326, was reelected, as was newcomer Ed Bello Jr., with 363.
Simonds runningmates, Democrat Jeremy Fisher (203) and incumbent Kane Seamon (284), who lost the June 26 Republican primary, both lost by sizeable margins.
Palevsky was drawn into the race for supervisor by a comprehensive plan and zoning code developed by adherents of the Protect Richfield moving to stop the five-turbine Monticello Hills Wind Farm.