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 JohnsonÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢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 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œoverwhelmedÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â by the support.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI am just overwhelmed,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â she said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œBut I am ready to go to work.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
|All smiles, Louella LeClair receives a congratulatory hug.|
LeClair said she appreciates the support of her family, her campaign committee and the voters.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œEspecially the voters,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â she said.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI am humbled by their trust in me,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â LeClair added. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI 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.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Out of town for the election, Johnson said he was not surprised by the results.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œNot 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,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Johnson said.
Johnson said that those problems surfaced with the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œappropriate and right decision of (pursuing) new leadership in the highway department.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI am fed up with the fact of continuously flipping a page to see how horrible I am,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Johnson said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œBut people fed off of that.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
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.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI have enjoyed the last four years, leading the county through one of its most difficult financial situations ever,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â he said.
|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.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œIt is about time that my wife and daughter get more attention from me,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â he said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThat is going to happen.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
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 TuesdayÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢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.