County Executive Pat Ryan of Gardiner coasted to his first full four-year term Tuesday night, with the Democrat easily winning a rematch election with Ulster County Conservative Party Chairman Jack Hayes, also of Gardiner, who was running on the Republican line as well.
Another Democrat, March Gallagher of Rosendale won election as county comptroller defeating Lisa Cutten of Kingston, a Democrat running on the Republican Party line. A third countywide race, the closely watched contest between Democrat Dave Clegg of Woodstock and Republican Mike Kavanagh of Saugerties remained too close to call as of press time.
Ryan, a 37-year-old former Army officer and tech executive held a commanding lead of 29,250 votes against Hayes’ 16,358, according to unofficial results and with 90 percent of precincts reporting. The two faced off at the polls six months ago in an April 30 special election to fill the remainder of former county executive Mike Hein’s term. (Hein resigned in February to take a job in the administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.)
Since taking office, Ryan has worked to advance a progressive agenda built around protecting the environment, diversifying the county’s economy and seeking innovative solutions to the county’s opioid epidemic. In his victory speech, Ryan said that the results of Tuesday’s election demonstrated the wide appeal of that agenda among Ulster County residents.
“In everything we do, we try to govern inclusively,” Ryan told the crowd at county Democrat’s results party at Keegan Ales in Kingston. “If you do that, you win inclusively.”
Gallagher, who most recently worked as the executive director and CEO of the nonprofit Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley, won her contest with Cutten, a former employee of the county comptroller’s and executive’s offices with long experience in municipal finance. As of midnight, with 90 percent of precincts reporting, Gallagher held a 25,726 to 19,283 lead over Cutten.
Bryan Rounds, a Kingston-based defense attorney and Democrat, ran unopposed for the post of County Court judge. In January, he will begin a 10-year term in office. Rounds will succeed Republican former district attorney Donald Williams, who chose not to seek a second term in office.
The race between Clegg and Kavanagh was too close to call on Tuesday night; the tally at about 12:30 Wednesday morning was 23,788 for Clegg and 22, 969 for Kavanagh. Kavanagh is a 48-year-old career prosecutor currently serves as chief assistant district attorney to Republican Holley Carnright, who chose not to seek a fourth four-year term. Clegg is a 66-year-old trial attorney who ran on a reform platform that included the use of restorative justice and diversion programs as alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders.
“I guess we’ll be back tomorrow to see how it goes,” said Kavanagh Tuesday night, who added that he believes some of the outstanding districts as well as absentee ballots may help him make up the deficit.
Some county legislature races were too close to call on Tuesday, making it for now unclear which party will control the body come Jan. 1, 2020.
In the state Supreme Court Third Judicial District race it was a sweep for Democrats as John C. Egan Jr., Michael C. Lynch and Justin Corcoran held leads for the three bench seats over Republican Linda Blom Johnson.