Incumbents, GOP fare well in elections

Ballot machines in their storage facility at the St. Lawrence County Board of Elections. Vaughn Golden/Watertown Daily Times

CANTON — Incumbents on both sides of the aisle largely fared well and turnout was high in St. Lawrence County with election results now officially certified.

After 16 days of counting absentee ballots and properly vetting all the votes cast in the Nov. 3 general election, the St. Lawrence County Board of Elections officially certified its final results Thursday.

Data provided by the Board of Elections showed that 45,267, or 73% of registered voters in the county, cast ballots either on Election Day, during early voting or via absentee voting, the latter of which accounted for just under a quarter of all votes cast. Those figures smashed turnout in the 2016 general election when 39,632 voters, or 68% of those registered cast ballots.

Voters in Waddington’s first electoral district had the best turnout in the county with 83% of their 722 voters casting ballots. But Ogdensburg’s second electoral district lagged well behind the average with only 60% of the 974 eligible voters casting ballots.

Across the board, incumbents generally fared well in state and county-wide races. Rep. Elise M. Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, easily coasted to a fourth term. She beat second-time Democratic challenger Tedra L. Cobb, of Canton, in her home county by 17 points. Rep. Stefanik also out-performed President Donald J. Trump in St. Lawrence County, as was seen with other down ballot Republicans nationwide. Mr. Trump only received 55% of the vote in St. Lawrence County as compared to Rep. Stefanik’s 59%.

Republicans also held onto state Senate seats in the 45th, 47th and 48th districts, and state Assembly seats in the 115th, 116th, 117th, and 118th districts, though only two of those were contested races. In the 45th state Senate District race, Republican Dan G. Stec won a sizable 65% of St. Lawrence County’s 3,164 votes in the district in his race against Democrat Kimberly A. Davis.

Republican incumbent Assemblyman Mark C. Walczyk, R-Watertown, trounced Democratic contender Alex V. Hammond, of Waddington, in his home county by 16 points.

In the race for St. Lawrence County Court judge, Gregory P. Storie, of Rensselaer Falls, rode Republicans’ recent dominance in the county to victory for the open seat. Mr. Storie secured 56% of the vote, giving him a comfortable lead over Democratic contender Nicole M. Duvé, of Potsdam. Incumbent County Treasurer Renee M. Cole, D-Heuvelton, ran uncontested and won re-election, though only 56% of ballots cast included a vote on that line.

There were three vacant seats on the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators up for election. None of those seats flipped party control, with the appointees in those districts securing the remaining two years of the term.

The closest of those three seats was the District 11 race in the towns of Stockholm and Potsdam. Suzanne M. Fiacco, D-Stockholm, trailed after early voting and Election Day machine votes were tallied, but took the lead with absentee ballots which were largely weighted towards Democrats. Chad E. Colbert, R-Stockholm, previously represented the district, but was unseated in 2018. Ms. Fiacco won with 52% of the 2,821 votes cast.

Republicans retained the District 5 seat encompassing the towns of Gouverneur and DePeyster with Harry A. Smithers II, R-Gouverneur, beating out Democratic challenger Amber L. Ormasen, also of Gouverneur, by a margin of 13 points. Democrat Margaret Garner Haggard, D-Potsdam, sailed to an easy win over Brenda L. Spurbeck, also of Potsdam, winning 72% of the District 10 seat encompassing most of the village of Potsdam.

With the incumbents retaining their seats, the county Board of Legislators still maintains its nine to six Republican majority.

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