Republican State Assemblyman Chris Tague fended off a second challenge by Democratic Greene County Legislator Aidan O’Connor, securing for himself a two-year term in the state Assembly.
In Saugerties, just one of 44 towns within the 102nd Assembly District and the only one in Ulster, O’Connor beat Tague 4,293 to 3,416. But throughout the district, Tague received 28,053 votes to O’Connor’s 20,858 according to unofficial results.
Tague has been serving on the Assembly since winning a special election on April 24 — also against O’Connor — to fill former assemblyman Pete Lopez’s vacated seat after he was appointed as an Environmental Protection Agency coordinator.
Tague lauded his proudest accomplishments on the Assembly thus far in a previous interview, one of which was his perfect score on the New York State Business Council’s yearly report last month. He was the only Assembly member to do so. (The business group ranks state legislature based on its pro-business and job-creation standards). Tague also mentioned his efforts to pass legislation benefiting area dairy farmers and his work to combat the opioid crisis, which includes plans for a 100 to 150-bed long-stay recovery facility within the 102nd.
Tague, 48, has two children, 21 and 20, and had planned to marry his fiancée on New Year’s Eve before the reality of his time-consuming campaign set in.
“We were so busy that we decided that we’re going to push the wedding off until next spring,” he said. “I told her last night that we can be friends again now. She’s a wonderful woman, the best thing that’s ever happened to me, and when she gets home we’re going to make our plans for what, where and when.”
A former dairy farmer who graduated from Schoharie High School, Tague served as town of Schoharie supervisor from 2015 until his election to the Assembly this year. He worked at Cobleskill Stone Products Inc. until his retirement on May 8 of this year, the day before his stint in the state Assembly began. In an interview the day after elections, Tague called the village “the city of Saugerties,” perhaps due to Schoharie’s smaller comparative size. He had campaigned in the community for seven total days, knocking on, he guessed, 1,500 doors. Despite his loss in Saugerties, he has at least one idea specific to the community.
“Main Street in Schoharie is a lot different from Main Street in Schoharie and Catskill,” said Tague. “I can’t believe that there are many areas in Saugerties where there isn’t cell phone coverage. Same with Catskill. That’s an economic issue — no one wants to buy a home in a place that they don’t have Internet service.”
Internet was certainly a concern at the Greene County Democrats’ election night party, where guests in groups larger than three were encouraged to share phone screens to check incoming vote results to preserve bandwidth at the Atelier Restaurant. O’Connor, 29, all smiles and hugs throughout the get-together, called the predicament “ironic,” considering that improving Internet service in the district was one of his pet issues. One attendee supposed that the building housed “more Democrats in a room than we’ve ever seen in Greene County” — about 150.
“I’m feeling optimistic at the energy and enthusiasm of the room,” he said after he was wrested at about 10 p.m. from a tangle of family and supporters for comment. “At this point, I think it’s anyone’s game.”
When votes began to lean earnestly in his favor, Tague and his team of supporters relocated to their home base at the Daughters of the American Revolution headquarters in Schoharie.
“I think people probably don’t know me as well in Saugerties — they’ve only met me through the special election and running for the first time,” said Tague. “We’ll be out there and working hard for those folks just like we’ll be working hard for the folks in the other seven counties. To be quite honest, I just want to thank everybody. If you look at the turn out numbers last night, they were very high for a midterm election. I want to thank everyone, regardless of who they voted for.”
Contacted Wednesday, O’Connor said he wasn’t thinking of running for office again. “I think I’m going to spend my next little bit of future concentrating on my family and community,” he said. “I’ll always be looking for ways to help the community, whether it’s through the Rotary or other service organizations.”
In addition to the town of Saugerties, Greene and Schoharie counties and parts of Delaware County, the district includes portions of Albany, Otsego and Columbia counties.