GOP holds two local seats in Assembly

GHENT–Unofficial voting results show Republican candidates Jake Ashby and Christopher Tague won the open seats in the 107th and 102nd Assembly districts respectively in the special elections held Tuesday.

The 107th district includes most of Rensselaer County, a small part of Washington County and the Columbia County Towns of Austerlitz, Canaan, Chatham, Kinderhook, Hillsdale and New Lebanon. Mr. Ashby, a Rensselaer County legislator and an occupational therapist, is a Schodack resident.

In the 102nd District, Christopher Tague, the Town of Schoharie supervisor, defeated Democrat Aiden S. O’Connor and independent candidate Wesley D. Laraway. The 102nd District spans seven counties including the Columbia County Towns of Stuyvesant and Stockport.

In Columbia County towns in the 107th district, Ms. Doran received more votes than Mr. Ashby, according to the unofficial voting machine returns released by the Columbia County Board of Elections Tuesday night, but the Times Union newspaper reported that Mr. Ashby won the Election Day machine vote district wide by 280 votes and that the approximately 1,000 absentee were not likely to alter the outcome.

The voter turnout in the Columbia County towns in 107th District election was 21.5%; turnout in Stuyvesant and Stockport in the 102 District poll was 19.5%, according to county Elections Commissioner Virginia Martin (D). The Times Union reported that the turnout district wide was less than 18%.

Attempts to reach the candidates after the preliminary results were known were unsuccessful, but a statement by Mr. Tague posted on his Facebook page read in part, “… So today, I’m going to do what I’ve done every day of my life: roll up my sleeves and get to work.”

More on the elections appears in the following Times Union story.

Republicans appear winners of local Assembly seats

By DAVID LOMBARDO

Reprinted with permission from the Times Union

TROY–Republicans in the Capital Region appeared to beat back the Democratic wave that hit the rest of the state in special elections Tuesday.

The state Assembly seats formerly held by Steve McLaughlin and Peter Lopez are almost certain to remain in Republican hands, as Chris Tague and Jake Ashby held narrow but significant leads.

In the 107th Assembly District, which includes parts of Washington, Rensselaer and Columbia counties, Mr. Ashby had 7,797 votes and Democrat Cindy Doran had 7,517 votes.

Approximately 1,000 absentee ballots were cast in the race, but Mr. Ashby’s 280-vote lead is virtually insurmountable.

Democrats fared better downstate, flipping an Assembly seat on Long Island and cruising to victory in a hard-fought state Senate race in Westchester County. Democrats also held onto a Senate seat in the Bronx.

Elsewhere in New York, Democrats held on to three Assembly seats in New York City.

All the winners in Tuesday’s special elections will have to run in November if they want full two-year terms. The petitioning process to get on the ballot will begin on June 5.

Mr. Ashby, who grew up in Castleton and lives in Schodack, was deployed twice to Iraq as a member of the Army Reserves and runs his own occupational therapy practice. He won his first election last year with a seat on the Rensselaer County Legislature, representing Schodack, Nassau and Sand Lake.

As a member of the Assembly, his votes will likely mirror Mr. McLaughlin’s record of opposition. Mr. Ashby has pledged to be a voice for the Second Amendment and wants to focus on environmental, business and veteran issues.

Looming over the race was Mr. McLaughlin, who gave up the seat and won election in 2017 as Rensselaer County executive and actively campaigned to make Mr. Ashby his successor.

Mr. Ashby said during the campaign that Mr. McLaughlin was a positive influence and helped his chances for victory.

Ms. Doran remarked during the campaign, “I feel like at times I’m running against Steve McLaughlin.”

Mr. McLaughlin first won the seat in 2010, defeating incumbent Tim Gordon, and was re-elected without opposition in 2016.

Turnout for the race was almost 18 percent, which was actually higher than expected for a special election, where voters are much less likely to vote.

In the 102nd Assembly District, a sprawling seven-county area that includes Schoharie and Greene and parts of Albany, Columbia, Ulster, Delaware and Otsego counties, Mr. Tague collected 8,547 votes and Democrat Aidan O’Connor had 8,259. Third-party challenger Wes Laraway also amassed 1,809 votes.

Mr. Tague is the Schoharie town supervisor and said he plans on being a voice for rural upstate in the Assembly, which is dominated by Democrats from New York City. His priorities in office include expanding access to high-speed internet, supporting dairy farmers and controlling state spending.

“You won’t find anyone who will work harder or be more dedicated,” Mr. Tague said during the campaign.

The Capital Region Assembly races garnered the attention of labor organizations, which threw their support behind Ms. Doran and Mr. O’Connor, and mobilized members to knock on doors, volunteer for phone banks and vote. With such low voter turnout on Tuesday, the union members likely made up a disproportionate percent of the vote.

Additionally, in the weeks leading up to the election, the powerful New York State United Teachers union’s political action committee spent more than $78,000 on mail and advertising for Ms. Doran, according to the state Board of Elections.

The Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee also invested its resources in the races, spending more than $55,000 for Ms. Doran and $62,000 for Mr. O’Connor, according to the most recent filings with the state BOE.

By contrast, the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee reported spending about $25,000 on Mr. Tague and less than $4,000 on Mr. Ashby.

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