Primary night in Kingston ended with Common Council Minority Leader Andi Turco-Levin (R-Ward 1) 21 votes ahead of her nearest rival, Ward 6 Alderman Ron Polacco. But Polacco, who waged an aggressive door-to-door campaign in the weeks leading up the vote, said that he is confident that he will prevail once the 109 absentee ballots are counted.
“I focused on the absentee ballot because I thought it was going to come down to this,” said Polacco.
Unofficial numbers posted by the Ulster County Board of Elections shortly after polls closed on Tuesday night showed Turco-Levin, who carried the party’s official endorsement, leading the four-way primary with 228 votes. Polacco followed with 207. Rounding out the bottom of the field were Richard Cahill Jr. with 96 votes and Jean Jacobs with 17.
But Ulster County Board of Elections officials said that they had issued a total of 186 absentee ballots for the Republican primary. As of Wednesday, Sept. 14, 109 had been returned; ballots needed to be postmarked by Sept. 13 and received no later than Sept. 21. They will be counted starting at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 21.
“Everybody’s going to spin it their own way,” said Turco-Levin. “We just have to sit and wait and look.”
But Cahill said that he was virtually certain that the absentee ballots would break Polacco’s way and, in the end, leave him as the party’s nominee.
“Based on my analysis, he’s going to win,” said Cahill. “He won it on pure shoe leather and grit and I congratulate him for it.”
Polacco himself was reticent to discuss the specifics of his absentee ballot strategy, citing the near-certain legal wrangling which will accompany next week’s count. But, he said, he was sure of at least 31 absentee ballots which were returned from his home base in the Sixth Ward by people he knew and had lobbied in person. Cahill, meanwhile, said that Polacco had hand-delivered 87 absentee ballots from likely supporters. Polacco needs at least 67 of the 109 ballots currently submitted to overcome Turco-Levin’s lead. Turco-Levin, meanwhile said that she had hand delivered just one absentee ballot, from her mother, but was confident that supporters had submitted more on their own.
Cahill will stay in race
While Turco-Levin and Polacco await the results of the absentee ballot count, Cahill has already announced that he will remain in the race on the Conservative Party line. Cahill successfully fended off a write-in campaign by Polacco to take away the third-party line. Now, much to the dismay of party leaders who were hoping to unite the city’s outnumbered Republicans behind a single candidate, Cahill says that he will actively campaign in the three- or four-way race currently shaping up.