CORTLAND — Republican Patrick Perfetti celebrated his apparent win in his bid for Cortland County District Attorney late Tuesday night by popping open a bottle of champagne with a crowd of supporters at the Republican Headquarters at 39 Port Watson St.
Unofficial election votes show Perfetti defeating two-term incumbent Democrat Mark Suben by a margin of 167 votes, not including absentee ballots.
Perfetti’s tally at the end of the night, according to the Cortland County Board of Elections, was 9,018 total votes to Suben’s 8,851. This puts Perfetti as the apparent winner with 50.42 percent of the votes to Suben’s 49.49 percent.
However, with 1,528 absentee ballots sent out, according to the Board of Elections, Suben remained hopeful this morning, saying he would await the results of the absentee ballots before making any official comments or conceding the election.
“We’re going to wait and see what the absentees bring,” he said.
According to Democratic Election Commissioner Tom Brown, the office will begin counting the absentee ballots Nov. 22 and it could take a couple of days for the results to be tallied.
As of this morning, of the 1,528 absentee ballots sent out, the Board of Elections had received 1,263 back.Perfetti also said he would remain guarded until the final count.
“The numbers are narrow and there is 1,200 absentee ballots out there,” he said. But he was prepared to celebrate, given the preliminary indications of a win.
Before the results were announced, Perfetti sat surrounded by family and supporters, nervously awaiting the outcome.
“It’s like waiting for a jury to come back,” Perfetti said.
However, Perfetti remained positive and around 11:15 p.m. the unofficial results were announced on TV.
“I’m very honored by the votes I received,” Perfetti said. “Thank you to the people of Cortland County for entrusting me with the great responsibility of serving as your district attorney for the next four years.”
Robin Clark, Perfetti’s campaign treasurer, said that at the beginning of the night everyone was nervous but optimistic.
“We’re confident that the right guy will get the job,” Clark said.
Around the corner at the Stone Lounge at 128 Main St., a somber mood prevailed in the Suben camp when results were announced, with about 20 supporters sitting quietly in a back room watching results on the TV and computers.
Perfetti said he is “ready to be a DA for all people of this county,” adding he will work hard to ensure that justice is served fairly and with integrity.
“Finally, I would like to thank Mark Suben for his eight years of service as DA,” Perfetti said.
Preliminary results from the Board of Elections this morning showed Perfetti had won most of the rural districts and Suben won the city, but it was not enough to carry him to victory.
Perfetti thanked his campaign manager and family, specifically his wife, Carol, for helping him in his bid to victory. He said his wife “kept things going” at home during the campaign.
“As someone who has never run for office before, this year’s campaign was eye-opening in many ways. I am truly thankful for the love and support of my family, our friends and our many campaign supporters who helped guide me through the process,” he said.