Schoharie Republican leader Chris Tague appears to have scored a narrow victory over Greene County Democratic legislator Aidan O’Connor, Jr. in the April 24 special election to choose a successor to former assemblyman Pete Lopez, now an EPA regional administrator. According to the state elections board website, Tague had 8547 votes, or 45.9% to O’Connor’s 8259, or 44.3%, a thin margin of 288 votes. A third candidate Wesley Laraway tallied 1809 votes, or 9.7%. The unofficial results included totals for all 126 election districts.
The Town of Saugerties, the only part of Ulster County in the sprawling 102nd Assembly District, which includes part or all of seven counties, strongly supported O’Connor. In unofficial results on election night O’Connor garnered 1281 votes in Saugerties to Tague’s 719 and Laraway’s 17. O’Connor did far better in Saugerties than in his home Greene County, where he scored 3516 votes to Tague’s 3609 and Laraway’s 114. O’Connor is minority leader of the Greene County Legislature.
Tague, head of the Schoharie County board of supervisors and GOP county chairman, built a plurality by winning his home county with 2383 votes to O’Connor’s 1557. The Schoharie-based Laraway got 1507 of his 1809 district-wide votes in that county.
In Saugerties, O’Connor got 1120 votes on the Democratic line, 130 on the Working Families line, and 41 on the Women’s Equality line. Tague received 512 on the Republican line, 167 on the Conservative line, 34 on the Independence line, and six votes on the Reform line.
Still outstanding are absentee ballots, which have until May 1 to arrive at local boards of elections in the seven counties involved in the sprawling district. According to the state board of elections, 2310 absentee ballots were distributed and, as of April 24, 1324 had been received. Each county will do its own county and will certify their results, which will then be aggregated at the state level. It is expected that it will take several weeks before the results are finalized, and longer if a court challenge is mounted.
In other results Tuesday, Democrats won the State Senate races, but will remain in the minority as state Sen. Simcha Felder, a Democrat, said he’ll continue to vote with Republicans. The results in the 102nd won’t affect the balance of power, as Democrats already controlled the Assembly.
The 102nd Assembly District was opened by the Oct. 1 2017 appointment of former Assemblyman Pete Lopez to the position of region 2 administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.
Lopez was first elected in 2006. He faced only one opponent afterward in the heavily Republican district, defeating James Miller by nearly 2-1 in 2012.
Correction: An earlier version of this article included incorrect percentages for vote totals, leading to the conclusion that Tague had won the election clearly. With the correct vote totals, the race is too close to call, so the article has been adjusted as needed.