GHENT–Democrat Didi Barrett has officially won the March 20 special election to the state Assembly from the 103rd District. She issued a statement Tuesday afternoon, April 4, claiming the victory, something she had not done until all the absentee and military ballots were counted this week.
Her opponent , Republican Richard Wager, conceded the race last week when it became clear that the initial outcome would not change substantially following Ms. Barrett’s 140-vote margin in the unofficial count of the machine votes cast on Election Day.
Columbia County Democratic Election Commissioner Virginia Martin said Tuesday that Ms. Barrett’s margin increased to 294 votes district wide when all the votes were tallied. Ms. Martin said she expected the county Board of Elections would certify the election results that day.
In a statement released Tuesday after the results were made final, Ms. Barrett said, “Now every vote has been counted and I am proud to officially announce that I have been elected by the people of the 103rd Assembly District to serve as their representative. We have almost doubled our lead since election night and I want to thank all the voters of Dutchess and Columbia Counties who made sure their voices were heard.”
The vote went heavily in Ms. Barrett’s favor in Columbia County, where she won by 2,318 to 1,693. That margin offset the vote in the Dutchess County towns that are part of the district, where Mr. Wager won by 4,477 to 4,146 for Ms. Barrett.
Governor Cuomo called the special election in January after incumbent Assemblyman Republican Marc Molinaro resigned in late December to become Dutchess County executive.
The City of Hudson and the towns of Ancram, Austerlitz, Canaan, Claverack, Copake, Ghent, Greenport, Hillsdale and Stockport in Columbia County and 12 Dutchess County towns stretching south to the Putnam County border presently comprise the 103rd Assembly District.
In a statement released late last Friday afternoon, Ms. Barrett said, “Today, my opponent conceded in the special election for the 103rd Assembly District seat, and I want to thank Rich Wager for a hard fought race.
Mr. Wager was quoted in the March 30 online edition of the Poughkeepsie Journal, www.poughkeepsiejournal.com, saying that he anticipated at that time ending up “a few votes short of victory.” The statement Mr. Wager gave the Journal said the campaign had turned negative in the last week of the brief campaign, but he congratulated Ms. Barrett and wished her the best.
Ms. Barrett said in her brief statement released Tuesday, “I look forward to sharing my passion for this region with my colleagues in the legislature. The 103rd Assembly District needs a representative in Albany to fight for issues important to middle class families – we need tax relief, good paying local jobs and a voice to make sure our needs are heard above the special interests. I look forward to getting to work on behalf of my constituents.”
Despite the support she received in Columbia County, it now seems unlikely she will represent the county past the end of the year, even if she runs again for a full term. Ms. Barrett lives in the Town of Washington in Dutchess County, as does Mr. Wager. That town will become part of the 105th District under the new election districts, and no part of the new 105th District is in Columbia County.