News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.


Robbins-Benton tied

Benton: Runoff Preferred In Election Tie

It’s (Indeed) A Tie

Candidates Agree: Runoff, Not Coin Toss


COOPERSTOWN – The Otsego County Board of Elections today certified the Republican Mary Margaret Robbins and Democrat MacGuire Benton are indeed tied at 272 votes for a Cooperstown Village Board seat.

The next question: coin toss or runoff?

Both candidate ruled out the coin-toss option.

“I want the people to decide,” Benton said. “The vote is critically important; it’s democracy.”

Asked if she supported a runoff election, Robbins replied, “Absolutely.  The people of Cooperstown deserve a choice.”

Mary Margaret, Mac Tie At 272 For Village Post


Mary Margaret,

Mac Tie At 272

For Village Post

Democratic incumbent MacGuire Benton and Republican challenger Mary Margaret Robbins, top photo, share a shrug and a laugh after Village Administrator Teri Barown announced that the two tied, 272-272, for a seat on the Cooperstown Village Board in today’s election. Democratic incumbent Joe Membrino led the ticket, with 287 votes, winning one of the two seats outright.  (His wife Martha hugs him, inset photo.)  It’s unclear what happens next. One longtime political observer said the two options may be a runoff election – or a coin toss. In the morning, the county Board of Elections will be asked to conduct a recount. It was a tense evening. When the machine tallies were counted, it was Membrino, 234; Benton, 227, and Robbins, 208. Then followed the hand-counting of 108 absentee ballots, a process that took almost an hour and a half, as candidates waited tensely for the outcome.  If Robbins ends up winning the seat, she would be the first Republican to serve on the Village Board in 10 years.  At left is Matt Sohns, Robbins’ husband; at right is Deputy Mayor Cindy Falk.  (Jim Kevlin/

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