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No Major Problems Reported At Polls On Tuesday

OSWEGO, NY – For the most part, voter turnout was relatively strong for Tuesday’s election.

“We had a good turnout. At the Pulaski Village office, the ink on one pad of ballots was smudged,” Legislator Shawn Doyle said. “More than 30 ballots wouldn’t work, and people had to do affidavits.”

Legislator Milferd Potter said the same in his district, good numbers with no real problems.

“Everything was going smoothly,” Dick Adkins, one the county’s election commissioners, said Tuesday evening. “There have been no real big problems.”

In Granby, some of the ballots were smeared, he noted.

They were taken out and replaced with no real issue, he noted.

“There were some complaints like people wanted more room or this or that,” Adkins said. “But overall, we haven’t had any big problems. I’m very pleased with the way things are going.”

Things were also going well in Mexico. Legislator Jack Proud reported a good voter turnout.

“We had a pretty good turnout in Mexico. There were a few problems, but nothing monumental,” he said.

For the most part, voting went smoothly, he said, adding that voters had already used the new machines for the recent primary elections and were getting more accustomed tot them.

“Everything’s going well,” added Legislator Mike Kunzwiler of Oswego. “I haven’t heard of any major problems at all.”

Hoffman Concedes Again And Says He’s Running Again

<p>Doug Hoffman.</p>

Doug Hoffman.

Doug Hoffman conceded defeat on Tuesday but predicted he won’t lose in 2010.

You heard that right: The Conservative Party candidate for Congress this year will run again next year. “I promise to help restore our nation’s faith in elected officials when we win,” he said in a letter posted on his website.

Hoffman admitted Tuesday that he had lost the special election to Democrat Bill Owens. Owens stretched his lead to about 3,500 votes as absentee ballots were counted in recent days.

“Bill Owens won,” Hoffman said plainly in a statement.

Owens’ remarkable win, aided by the last-minute endorsement of Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava after she quit the race, sets the stage for a 2010 rematch with Hoffman. Owens is the first Democrat to represent Oswego County in Congress since a one-term Congressman the 1950s, and only the second since the end of the Civil War.

The conservative, who does not live in the Congressional district, captured national attention with his remarkable campaign. The candidates spent more than $4 million on the race, making it easily the costliest Congressional election ever seen in this region.

In his letter to supporters, Hoffman said he would attack Owens for going back on promises he said Owens made during the campaign. He said that his campaign’s conservative message had been heard across the nation. “In three months, we almost toppled an entrenched political system and successfully defied the conventional thinking of the elite political punditry. Citizen government is making a comeback in America,” he wrote.

Hoffman apologized for what he called “an unfortunate and poorly worded fundraising email….As we tried to make sense of the false vote counts and stories of software viruses in the voting machines, we never intended to imply the election commissioners had somehow acted improperly. This was never our intention and, on the contrary, the election commissioners went above and beyond to uphold their duty to ensure a fair election took place. I owe them a debt of gratitude for all they have done.”

But the fundraising e-mail did more than imply improper actions. “Recent developments leave me to wonder who is scheming behind closed doors, twisting arms and stealing elections from the voters of NY-23,” the letter said. “I’m sure you are as dismayed as I am to learn of the mischief that took place in Oswego and neighboring counties. We know this would not be the first time for the ACORN faithful to tamper with democracy.”

It continued, “Oswego County elections officials blame the mistakes on “chaos” in their call-in center that included a phone system foul-up, and on inspectors who read numbers incorrectly when phoning in results. This sounds like a tactic right from the ACORN playbook.”

Elections inspectors are appointed by the two major political parties and, in essence, keep an eye on each other.

Veterans Day Reminds Us Importance of Right to Vote

Last week we cast our vote. In a non-presidential election, voter turnout is historically lower, however, no less important. It’s here that we decide who will represent us to decide how taxpayer dollars are spent and determine public policy. To be able to vote in an election is a right our forefathers fought for and is just one more reason we should be mindful and appreciative of our veterans this week.

This year, voters in Oswego County and some voters in Onondaga County experienced a new voting method. Rather than risking a “hanging chad,” voters now choose their representatives with a pen and are asked to fill in the appropriate square, much like on a school exam. The ballot, which has not varied in size or appearance too much, is then fed into an optical scanner. These scanners replace the old lever-style voting machines. Though it’s still considered in its pilot phase, this newer method is slowly being implemented across the state. According to the New York State Board of Elections, the plan is to have the new voting machines in place and in working order for the entire state by the 2010 Fall election.

According to the New York State Board of Elections, there are 74,012 active voters in Oswego County. This is in comparison to roughly 94,690 people in Oswego County who are eligible to vote. Similarly, in Onondaga County, there are roughly 348,528 eligible voters, while only 283,467 are active voters. I would encourage you to visit the board of elections website. It is here you can view your registration profile, which includes information on your legislative districts, your party affiliation and your polling site: https://voterlookup.elections.state.ny.us/votersearch.aspx.

If you have moved, it’s easy to update your address as well. Any changes in address or party affiliation must be done through the U.S. mail, however, you can download forms through the website. Any questions voters have may also be answered through this website, as the state’s election law can be viewed in its entirety at www.elections.state.ny.us/ElectionLaw.html.

Many municipalities are in need of poll workers. In most cases, this is paid work, albeit temporary. Those with interest in applying, may do so online at www.vote-ny.com/

Unofficial Voting Results Firm Up Fulton Common Council Win

It took 48 hours, but Oswego County fixed its problem with presenting results from the Tuesday elections.

Final data provided a winner in the city of Fulton race for an open seat on the Common Council.

Democrat Dan Knopp beat Republican John Hansen, 221-94.  Knopp takes the seat being vacated by Alderman David Guyer.  Knopp had served on the Common Council.  He was appointed to fill an unexpired term but lost to Guyer in 2007.

The final, unofficial results swing the Council back to a Democratic party majority.  Democrats Knopp, Kim Roy and Pete Franco won all of the seats being vacated by retiring Aldermen.  The Common Council, which is now controlled by Republicans with a 5-1 majority, will have 4 Democrats to 2 Republicans come January.

The numbers also show that conservative Doug Hoffman was popular in the county, but his wins in at least four counties of the 11-county Congressional district were not enough to overcome Democrat Bill Owens’s leads elsewhere.

Oswego County voters went for Hoffman by 512.6% to 44.5%.  Another 3.8% voted for Republican Dede Scozzafava, who had quit the race the Saturday before the election and on Sunday, endorsed Owens.

Hoffman also won Madison County, Lewis County and tiny Hamilton County.  He also won in the small slice of Oneida County that is in the 23rd Congressional District.

But the numbers show that Scozzafava’s endorsement was crucial in the battleground area of Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties, her home turf and the only area where polls showed she was competitive at the time of her departure from the race.

Owens won Jefferson County, 49% to 46% and won St. Lawrence County, 56% to 38%.  The margins in those two large counties erased Hoffman’s gains in the counties he won.  Owens captured a majority of votes on his home turf, the counties of the northeastern end of the district around Plattsburgh, to take the seat by about 4,000 votes.

Fulton Voters Pick 3 New Aldermen

Voters reshaped Fulton’s Common Council Tuesday night.

Republican Tom Kenyon ran unopposed in the 1st Ward, on a night when three current members chose not to run for new terms.  Aldermen Dave Guyer, Bob Weston and Russ Hayden were not on the ballot.

In Guyer’s 2nd Ward, the outcome is uncertain.  Results posted to the county’s website show only four votes among candidates John Hansen and Dan Knopp, two v otes apiece.

The other two vacancies have more certain outcomes.

Democrat Pete Franco, the retired deputy police chief of Fulton, will take the 3rd Ward reins from retiring longtime Alderman Weston.  He beat Timothy Crandell 432 to 173.

And Democrat Kim Roy returns to the Common Council, beating Johnathan Weldin 109 – 97.

Aldermen Daryl Hayden and Jay Foster won reelection by large margins.

The Council stands at 3 Democrats and 2 Republicans, with the 2nd Ward race yet to be decided.

County Legislature: Some Incumbents Lose; Many Run Unopposed

At least two County Legislature incumbents lost their seats to the will of the voters on Tuesday.

North Shore legislator Art Gearsbeck, an independent who often sided with the minority Democrats, lost to Republican John Martino, 602-492, in the legislature’s 6th District.

And incumbent Phil Vasho of Fulton lost a new term to Republican Jim Karasek, 483-421.

A third incumbent may also fall. Republican legislator Paul Santore trails Democrat Amy Tresidder 492-295 with 5 of 7 election districts counted.  Santore holds a leadership position in the caucus.

Martino and Karasek (and possibly Tresidder) will be part of a large class of freshman legislators, joined by four others who won battles for open seats.

Ron Sakonyi won in the 5th district, taking the seat being given up by Jim Bryant.  He beat Democrat Charles Williams.

Democrat Jacob Mulcahey won the 15th district seat now held by Lee Walker, Jr.  He beat Republican Michael Joyce and independent Mercedes Niess.

It was close in Hannibal, but Republican Terry Wilbur won the 21st district seat being vacated by Jack Beckwith. Wilbur beat Judith O’Connor Walsh, 528-463.

And Republican Mark Fruce, III of Fulton will take the seat of retiring longtime legislator Clayton Brewer.  He ran unopposed.

All other current legislators won reelection, with 10 of them running unopposed.

Incumbents Retain Oswego Council Seats

OSWEGO, NY – The core of the Oswego Common Council remains intact.

From left Dan Mahaney, Hannibal Town Highway Superintendent; Mike Kunzwiler, Legislator 18th District; and candidate Jacob Mulcahey 15th District, wait for election results to be posted Tuesday night.

From left Dan Mahaney, Hannibal Town Highway Superintendent; Mike Kunzwiler, Legislator 18th District; and candidate Jacob Mulcahey 15th District, wait for election results to be posted Tuesday night.

According to the unofficial results, all five of the incumbents will return to the council for a new term.

Connie Cosemento (D) defeated Jay Scanlon (R) 254 to 218 in the First Ward.

Shawn Walker (R) retained his seat in the Fourth Ward with a 364 to 233 victory over Diane Zeller-Richards (D).

In the Sixth Ward Bill Sharkey (R) held off a challenge from former alderman Tim Rice (D) by a 325 to 181 margin.

“I am a little surprised by the margin,” Sharkey said. “It has traditionally been a Democrat ward. When I won the first time, I was the first Republican to win there in 68 years. And, only the second one since the Civil War.”

Sharkey said his fiscal conservativeness played a big part in his re-election.

“That’s exactly what I am; I tell people I am a financial conservative,” he said. “I believe in financial responsibility.”

Republicans Mike Myers (302), Second Ward and Dan Donovan (423) Fifth Ward were unopposed.

Sue Sweet (R), the Third Ward incumbent, didn’t seek re-election.

Cathy Santos (D) beat Miles Becker (R) 274 to 131 to gain that seat.

“I want to thank the voters for their support and looking forward to working with the other councilors,” she said.

Seventh Ward alderman Mike Joyce (R) campaigned for the county’s 15th District seat. In the three-way race he trails Jacob Mulcahey (D) 588 to 550 with Mercedes Niess (O, I) receiving 162 votes.

Cathy Santos receives congratulations from Christopher Marin on Tuesday night. Santos, according to the unofficial vote count, has won the Third Ward alderman race in Oswego.

Cathy Santos receives congratulations from Christopher Marin on Tuesday night. Santos, according to the unofficial vote count, has won the Third Ward alderman race in Oswego.

“It was a pleasure to campaign in the 15th Legislative District, a great opportunity to meet many new people and reconnect with those I already knew. I would like to thank everyone who participated in the election process.  I would also like to especially thank those residents that had the courage to vote for an Independent,” Niess said. “This was my first foray as a candidate in this political arena and I am satisfied that I was able to run a positive grassroots campaign with a strong message. I look forward to continuing to offer my expertise and experience to our county government.”

Lee B. Walker Jr., the incumbent legislator of the 15th District, sought the Seventh Ward seat in the Port City.

Ron Kaplewicz (O, I) was the top vote getter with 337 followed by Kevin Gilman (O, I) 313. Walker Jr. received 150 votes.

“We have the core of the council just about the same,” said Donovan, the current council president. “We should be able to work together. We’ll just keep moving forward.”

Cosemento, currently the lone Democrat on the council, agrees.

“We have a good group of councilors,” she said. “I believe we will continue to move forward for the betterment of the city.”

County Notes

Amy Tresidder, right, is congratulated by Jennifer Mulcahey. Tresidder, according to the unofficial vote count, has won the race for legislator of the 16th District.

Amy Tresidder, right, is congratulated by Jennifer Mulcahey. Tresidder, according to the unofficial vote count, has won the race for legislator of the 16th District.

Incumbent legislator Doug Malone (D) beat Joe Susino (R) 424 to 106 to hold on to his seat.

In the county’s 16th District, Amy Tresidder (D) defeated veteran legislator Paul Santore (R) 493 to 295.

“I just went door to door every night campaigning,” she explained. “I want to thank all the voters for their support.”

Incumbent legislator Mike Kunzwiler (D) beat challenger Rick Bishop 688 to 226 in the county’s 16th District.

Terry Wilbur (R) beat Judith O’Connor – Walsh (D) 528 to 463 to claim the county’s 21st District seat. Incumbent jack Beckwith didn’t seek re-election

In the race to replace John McHugh in the 23rd Congressional District Doug Hoffman (C) is out in front of Bill Owens (D) 10,882 to 10,382 with Dede Scozzafava (R) with 1,339 votes (despite dropping out of the race over the weekend) in Oswego County. Owens is in front district wide.

Owens will be a good fit for Oswego County, according to Kunzwiler, the Minority Leader of the legislature.

“He will be an excellent fit. He’s a veteran, he has a solid economic background with what he’s done up in Plattsburg with the air base,” he said. “He’s a moderate Democrat. John McHugh was a moderate; I was able to work well with him and I look forward to working with Bill Owens.”

New Poll: Owens And Hoffman In Dead Heat, While Scozzafava Falls Back

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The first independent poll in more than a week on the race for Congress finds that what appears to be true is true: Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman has pulled into a virtual tie with Democratic candidate Bill Owens, with just days left before voters decide.

The poll, conducted by the independent polling firm Research 2000 for the liberal website Daily Kos, finds:

Owens: 33% (down 2 points from the Reserach 2000 poll of 10/19-21)
Hoffman: 32% (up 9 points)
Scozzafava: 21% (down 9 points)
Undecided: 14% (up 2 points)

The poll of 600 likely voters was conducted between October 26 and 28. The margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points.

Hoffman has surged in recent days, as a number of high profile conservative Republicans have broken ranks with the party to give him their support. Most notably, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin threw her support to the businessman from Lake Placid. His support from members of Congress has given him a mainstream appearance usually denied to third-party candidates. Conservatives nationwide have opened their pocketbooks to him so he can buy large amounts of advertising, and conservative groups have funded ads attacking his opponents.

His growth seems to have come nearly entirely from Scozzafava, the Assemblywoman from Gouverneur whose support for abortion and gay marriage enraged social conservatives. She has suffered from a lack of financial support and a lukewarm initial response from the national Republican organization.

Owens has held steady numbers throughout the campaign. He’s got enough money to fund a strong ad campaign in the final days and is getting some outside group attack-ad support as well.

The attacks from Hoffman and support he’s gotten from national conservative TV, radio and blogs has driven down Scozzafava’s appeal to voters. Just 32% of those polled have a favorable opinion of her, down 6 percentage points in a week. Meantime, those holding an unfavorable opinion have soared 11 points, to 46%. Generally, negative approval numbers that approach 50% spell doom for a candidate.

Hoffman may be turning the race in his favor in part because he’s winning the battle for independent voters. 53% of independents in the poll viewed him favorably, against just 14% who viewed him unfavorably. Owens is 31-24% favorable to unfavorable, while Scozzafava has sunk to 29-47%. Owens remains the least known among independents. 45% say they have no opinion of him, a number far higher than the other two candidates.

Democrats are strongest in their support for Owens. Republicans are split, 41% for Hoffman, 34% for Scozzafava.

Men favor Hoffman; women favor Owens. Owens wins with voters under 45, while Hoffman wins with older voters.

The poll also finds that people in the 11 county 23rd Congressional District favor, as the poll question put it, “creating a government-administered health insurance option that anyone can purchase to compete with private insurance plans” by 51-44 % margin. President Obama remains favored by 50% of those polled, with 42% holding an unfavorable view.

One more independent poll is ahead, a third poll from Siena College’s Polling Institute.

Congressional Candidate Hoffman in Fulton Today

Doug Hoffman.

Doug Hoffman.

Yesterday, it was Democratic candidate for Congress Bill Owens in Oswego County.  Today, it’s surging Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman.

Hoffman holds two events today in Fulton.

He will open a campaign headquarters at 10:45 am at 2 W. 1st St. N., the former Joice and Burch store.

He then heads to Mimi’s, as all candidates eventually do, for a round of handshaking beginning at about noon.

Three candidates are running to replace John McHugh as the Congressman from the 23rd District.  Hoffman, the Conservative Party’s candidate, has a load of national support from conservative Republicans who are bucking their party’s choice, moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava.  Independent polls have shown that the Democrat in the race, Bill Owens, holds a small lead.

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