Chairman Falls To Challenger

FULTON, NY – After more than a decade on the Oswego County Legislature, current chairman Russ Johnson was defeated Tuesday by a first-time challenger.

Political newcomer Louella LeClair defeated Johnson at the polls Tuesday almost 2 to 1, securing 500 votes to Johnson’s 253 in the race for the 25th Legislative District. (Disclaimer: LeClair is an employee of Dot Publishing, Inc., the parent company of the Daily News family of news Web sites.)

Celebrating her victory with family and friends at the Fulton Polish Home after the election, LeClair said she was “overwhelmed” by the support.

“I am just overwhelmed,” she said. “But I am ready to go to work.”

lou hug
All smiles, Louella LeClair receives a congratulatory hug.

LeClair said she appreciates the support of her family, her campaign committee and the voters.

“Especially the voters,” she said.

“I am humbled by their trust in me,” LeClair added. “I promise that I will work as hard as I can to live up to that trust and work to bring the county legislature back to a place that everyone can be proud of.”

Out of town for the election, Johnson said he was not surprised by the results.

“Not even Jesus Christ could have won an election when you have a local print media writing for more than a year that you are corrupt,” Johnson said.

Johnson said that those problems surfaced with the “appropriate and right decision of (pursuing) new leadership in the highway department.”

“I am fed up with the fact of continuously flipping a page to see how horrible I am,” Johnson said. “But people fed off of that.”

Johnson, who is nearing the end of his seventh term on the Legislature, said that he has enjoyed his tenure, noting particularly the past two terms.

“I have enjoyed the last four years, leading the county through one of its most difficult financial situations ever,” he said.

lou linda
LeClair and Linda Lockwood congratulate each other on successful elections. Both candidates beat incumbents at the polls Tuesday.

With legislative responsibilities set down, Johnson said that he will enjoy spending more time with his family and concentrating on his new job.

“It is about time that my wife and daughter get more attention from me,” he said. “That is going to happen.”

Two local incumbents — Republican legislator Clayton Brewer of the 24th District and Democratic legislator Phillip Vasho of the 22nd District — secured victories over their challengers, Mark Fruce and James Karasek, respectively.

Other area legislative races showed two more incumbents defeated in Tuesday’s election, however.

Democrat Paul Natoli, who is completing his first term in the 11th District in Volney, was defeated by Linda Lockwood, a longtime town councilor in her first run for the Legislature. Incumbent Michael French of the 23rd Legislative District in Granby was also defeated by former legislator Morris Sorbello Jr.


  1. I am Lou’s oldest daughter, and i wanted to say i have never been more proud of my mom. She is a strong, loving person with a heart of gold. And she deserves this chance. I just want to thank all her friends and family and committee members and exspecially the voters, for giving her the chance. You won’t be sorry !! You Go Mom !! WE love you, Colleen, Bill, Brendan, Lauren and Michael-ann

  2. johnson losing might be a good thing for Fulton maybe we if we are lucky he will make a run for mayor. We need someone who not afraid to stand up and fight for whats best for the city

  3. Im so happy for my Grandma, i support her 100%. i have faith in my grandma that she wont let you down. I know she will do wonders. She is a wonderful woman. Shes a very happy person, i know that she will do well, you will not regret voting for her she is just overall amazing. When she says shes going to do something, or try to do something she will give it her all, 115%. She is a wonderful mother, grandmother, friend, family member, She is a family person. We all love and Support you grandma. i love you.

  4. Congratulations to Louella LeClair, the nicest lady on this planet, and the best grandma a child could ask for. This lady has been through a lot to win this election and gosh darn it, she did it. You are an inspiration to all Grandma. This lady is a woman of her word. She will do what it takes to make everything the way i should be. She fought for this, and put effort into it, so she deserves it! This lady is not only my grandma but my hero. I Love you so much. I know you will succeed in this journey. I’m routing for you.

  5. CONGRATS to Louella, Morris, Jim, Margaret, Linda,! I think it’s giant step forward — the voters rejected five of the County Leghislature’s Republicrats! Now the real Republican Party leaders can get back to doing the people’s business without the infighting and the acrimony that has been going on.

  6. I would like to thank everyone who voted for my grandmother lou. I know she will bring about good chnage and alway have whats best for her people in her heart always. Her lovingness and goodness will be a great factor in helping oswego county and it’s people. I would also liek to thank everyoen for their kind gesture and support for the letter I wrote about my grandmother during her campaign. Good luck grandma and we will support and love you always.

  7. I am very happy for Lou. I have worked closely with her over the years and find her to be very dedicated to whatever she takes on. I am sure she will do a wonderful job. I am sure that my fellow former employees will wish her the very best in this new chapter of her life. You rock Lou!

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