November 7, 2007


Cortland treasurer ousted

O’Mara upsets Ferris in county treasurer race


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Pat O’Mara receives a hug from his sister, Connie Letts, of Horseheads, at Democratic headquarters Tuesday night after defeating Don Ferris for the county treasurer postion.

Staff Reporter

CORTLAND — Democrat Patrick O’Mara ousted Cortland County Treasurer Don Ferris in Tuesday’s election, capturing 58 percent of the vote.
O’Mara garnered 5,491 votes and Ferris received 3,992, according to unofficial results from the Cortland County Board of Elections.
A crowd of more than 30 people screamed in excitement and cheered “Patrick, Patrick, Patrick,” as results were announced at Democratic headquarters at 16 Church St.
“We need to have integrity, professionalism back in office,” said Tom Brown, one of O’Mara’s campaign managers. “He’s our guy.”
O’Mara said he had a feeling he was going to win the race, though he did not think he would win by as wide a margin as he did. The towns surrounding the city are more heavily Republican, he said.
About 36 percent of registered voters in Cortland County voted in the race, based on numbers provided by the Cortland County Board of Elections.
He credited his victory to strong campaigning, attendance at candidate forums and putting up signs and knocking on doors. Plus, he said, a lot of people know him from the city bar he owns, Paddy’s Pub, his eight years as a county legislator and other community involvement.
Still, the deciding factor in the race was probably setbacks in the Treasurer’s Office in recent years that included inaccuracies and missed deadlines cited by the state Comptroller’s Office.
“He (Ferris) was there but his office had problems,” O’Mara said. “But I don’t know how voters work.”
Ferris said he was surprised by his margin of loss. He helped accomplish a number of things as treasurer, he said, including improving the county’s bond rating, keeping the treasurer’s office under budget and improved earnings on its deposits.
“I feel like I can hold my head up and look in the mirror and not be ashamed of people on my behalf,” he said.
He suspected his campaign was unable to correct public misperception about his job performance. “People seemed to amplify the negative and downplay the positive,” he said.
Ferris, who owns Quali Graphics printing company in Homer, said he has not ruled out running for public office in the future, though he could not be more specific at this point.
O’Mara said one of the first things he will do as treasurer is try to have the state conduct an audit of the office and determine from that what things need attention.
He said he will also make an effort to work well with Democrats and Republicans alike.
“I’ve always been that way, and I always want to keep it that way,” he said.
O’Mara said around 10:30 p.m., soon after the announcement he had officially won, that he planned on going out for a cocktail at Paddy’s Pub with his family to celebrate his victory.
“I’m an early riser,” he said, noting he gets up every day at 5:30 a.m.
In the one other contested county race, Republicans Kevin Sharp and Whitney Meeker were re-elected as county coroners, while Democratic newcomer Barbara Faughnan-Mehrhof lost the race.
Unofficially Sharp gained 4,878 votes, Meeker 4,278 votes and Faughnan-Mehrhof 3,250 votes.
Other unofficial results in Cortland County were:
l Democrat Lee Price received 5,188 votes in the unopposed sheriff’s race.
l Elizabeth Larkin, who ran on the Republican, Democratic, Independence and Conservative party lines for county clerk, received 8,569 votes.


Election results for Cortland County, regional town races

The following are the unofficial results of town elections. Two council seats are open in each town except Cuyler, which has three. Democrats did not contest seats in Cincinnatus, Homer, Lapeer, Marathon, Scott and Taylor.

Supervisor: Dale R. Bates (R)                                   146
Clerk: Joanne C. Perkins (R)                                     153
Collector: Kay Ann Tracey (R)                                 123
Highway Superintendent: Robert K. Livermore (R)    153
Justice: Mitchell Eccleston (R)                                    157
Councilman: Guy R. Rundell Sr. (R)                   128; Jonathan A. McKee (R)                                           147

Supervisor: Richard C. Tupper (R),                       1,076; Nick Renzi (D)                                                        916
Justice: Francis Casullo (R)                                    1,260
Clerk: Karen Q. Snyder (R)                                   1,323
Highway Superintendent: Carl A. Bush Jr. (R)        1,305
Councilman: Chris Farkas (D) 857; George Ottenschot (D) 924 Route 281; Theodore V. Testa (R) 983; John C. Proud (R) 1033

Supervisor: LouAnne Randall (R)                              235; Steve Breed (D)                                                      145
Clerk/Collector: Wendy Custer (D, R)                       339
Justice: Karl Burdick (D) 144;        Dean Northup (R) 237
Councilman (3 seats): Gary VanDee (D) 93; Harry Hulbert (D) 140; Peter Titus (D) 120; Keith White (R) 247; Nancy Corbin (R) 225; Russell Smith (R) 251

Supervisor: Mary A. Sumner (D)                             1,479;
Cheryl A. Nelson (R)                                             1,297
Councilman: David Makar (D) 1,517; Joseph D. Solomon (D) 1,410; Walter M. Keeney (R) 1,285; Stanley T. Marcus (R) 1,300,
Justice: Christopher E. Clauson (R)                       1,607;
Jason Leifer (D)                                                   1,316
Clerk: Bambi L. Hollenbeck (R)                             1,788

Supervisor: Mary K. Mackey (R)                                96
Clerk: Dora Cross (D,R)                                          103
Collector: Patti Zering (D,R),                                    136
Highway Superintendent: Steven E. Stanough Sr. (R) 97
Councilman: Shelby Underwood (D) 52; Rebecca Stewart (D) 41; Robin L. Slocum (R)79; Byron T. James (R) 88.

Councilman: Kathleen Howard (D) 377; Colleen Gloster-Gray (D) 267; Richard B. Gamel (R) 461; Sheldon C. Clark (R) 487
Justice: Arthur D. Dawson (R)                                  526 

Supervisor: Ray Marsh (D,R)                                   148
Collector: Diane Michaud (D,R)                                155
Highway Superintendent: Ronald Carpenter (D,R)     144
Justice: Sharon Canfield (D,R)                                144
Councilman: Charles Rowland (D,R)                          138;
Daryl Cross (D,R)                                                  146

Supervisor: Fred J. Forbes Sr. (R)                          936
Councilman: Dan Weddle (R) 941; Brian Young (R) 909

Supervisor: Gary Cornell (R)                                    126
Clerk/Collector: Margaret Courtney (R)                     129
Highway Superintendent: George Courtney Jr. (R)     32
Justice: Bonnie Hand 412; Richard James Edsall (R) 120,
Councilman: Irene Russell (R) 124; Steven Phillips (R) 119

Supervisor: Charles S. Adams Jr. (R)                         233
Clerk: Doris A. Adams (R)                                                   235
Collector: Kathleen E. Fox (R)                                    249
Highway Superintendent: Randy W. Ensign (R)              243
Justice: Eddie Daugherty (R)                            242
Councilman: Thomas D. Adams (R)                              228;
Donald B. Hines (R)                                                     232

Supervisor: Elizabeth Pitman (D)                                     216
Clerk/Collector: Jane Davenport (D)                                     137
Highway Superintendent: Jeffrey Griswold (R)   314; Thomas Smith (D)                                                                       84
Justice: Lynn Webb (D,R)                                            355
Councilman: Catherine Edinger (D) 214; Kathleen Haynes Randall (D) 108; Peter Knapp (R) 246; James Doring (R) 214

Supervisor: Stephen E. McMahon (R)                              193
Clerk/Collector: Susan F. Hubbard (R)                              164
Highway Superintendent: Gerald R. Hapgood (R)     171
Councilman: Gerald A. Contento Jr. (R)  209; Vernon B. Finks II (R)  193

Supervisor: Cindy Monroe (D,R)                               199
Highway Superintendent: James Wildman (D,R)        146
Justice: Rick Monroe (R),                                                 154
Councilman: Bobby Hotaling (R), 178; Gerry Craig (R), 166

Supervisor: David H. Fuller (R)                                   61
Clerk/Collector: Marie Peri (R)                               66
Highway Superintendent: James Smith (R)            67
Justice: Rollan Elwood (R)                                                    72
Councilman: Jeffrey Smith (R), 69; Lymott Jordan (R), 66

Supervisor: Gregory D. Lockwood (R)                            186;
Walter D. Schmit (D)                                               154
Justice: James J. Denkenberger (R)                      237;
Donald L. McCall (D)                                               105
Councilman: Stephanie A. Potter (R)                              211;
Gus R. Wehbe (R);                                                    177;
Molly McCall McDermott (D)                                            140;
Brigette A. Ullrich (D)                                              131

Supervisor: Craig Umbehauer (D)                           344;
John Kaminski (R)                                                      335
Clerk/Collector: Bonnie P. Hand (R,D)                            412
Justice: R. Scott Elston (R), 356; Roy E. Lewis (D), 336
Councilman: Ronald H. Anderson (R), 405; Michael L. Vail (D); 339; Jeffrey Breed (R), 321; Eric J. Trinkle (D);255

Supervisor: Alvin Doty Jr. (D,R),                             123
Clerk: Anna Wilcox (D,R)                                            131
Collector: Laura Fox (D,R)                                                    134
Highway Superintendent: Eugene Turshman (D,R)    132
Justice: Benno Spiehs (D)                                                  132
Councilman: Joanne Brown (R), 122; Charles Sudbrink (D),79; Gregory McGowan (R), 61



Legislature control hinges on Homer race

Dafoe has 7-vote  margin; Dems hold 10 seats, Repubs nine.

Staff Reporters

CORTLAND — Whether Republicans or Democrats will lead the Legislature is in question, and the answer hinges on one race in Homer between incumbent Democrat Steve Dafoe and Republican James Miller in District 11.
If Miller wins, there would be 10 Republicans and nine Democrats. There are 11 Democrats and eight Republicans on the current Legislature.
When partial results Tuesday put Miller nine votes ahead of Dafoe, Miller and his wife, Debbie Butler-Miller, were full of excitement and relief.
“Every time the screen changed I looked away,” Miller said. “Finally (my wife) grabbed my back and said ‘You’re winning.’”
But minutes later more votes came in, putting Miller behind Dafoe by seven votes, 210-203.
“I’m only down by seven, it’s still pretty close,” Miller said Tuesday night. “I need 23 absentee ballots to win, and it can’t be a tie.”
At least 40 absentee ballots were sent out in this district.
Dafoe could not be reached for comment this morning.
Two key races among city legislators went to the Republicans. In Legislative District 2, Anthony Piombo beat Democrat Ric Van Donsel. Democrat Sean Clark currently holds the seat. Piombo, a Democrat ran on the Republican ticket. The unofficial vote tally was 223-185.
Piombo said this morning he was shocked that he won his race against Van Donsel, because he is a newcomer to politics and Van Donsel was a good candidate.
“Ric was a good opponent, and he ran a great campaign,” he said.
Piombo said his top priority as legislator will be addressing flooding problems in the 2nd Ward. When he campaigned door to door he could tell that was a huge problem, he said.
“We’ve got to figure out where the problem starts and we’ve got to fix it,” he said. “No one wants to move.”
In Legislative District 5, Republican Kathie Wilcox, of 62 Church St., ousted Democrat Ron Van Dee, of 7 Taylor St., with the vote standing at 170-155.



Incumbents win contested council seats

Staff Reporter

CORTLAND — Incumbent city Common Council members with their names on the ballot held on to their seats after Tuesday’s election, according to unofficial results.
The results of write-in campaigns by two incumbent Democrats who lost their primary contests in the 2nd and 4th wards will not be known until the end of the week.
In the 2nd Ward, Democrat Clay Benedict received 248 votes. Incumbent Democrat Shannon Terwilliger waged an aggressive write-in campaign.
Running unopposed, Democrat Ken Dye took the 3rd Ward with 176 votes — incumbent Democratic Alderwoman Amy Cobb did not run for re-election.
Democrat Brian Tobin received 102 votes in the 4th Ward, facing off against incumbent Nick DeCarlo, a fellow Democrat who also pursued a write-in campaign after losing the September primary.
Incumbents in the 5th, 6th and 8th wards were returned to office.
Republican Dan Quail held on to his 5th Ward seat with 69 percent of the vote, receiving 226 votes while his challenger, Terrence Benn Mays, received 101 votes.
Next year Quail will begin his fourth two-year term.
“You’re never going to win over every voter, but it certainly is rewarding to see the vote come out the way it did,” Quail said after the unofficial results were reported at county Republican Party headquarters on Port Watson Street.
Sixth Ward Democrat Susan Feiszli took home 251 votes — about 69 percent of the vote — beating Republican challenger Alan Jones, who received 113 votes.
Republican Tom Michales retained his 8th Ward seat with 220 votes, or about 62 percent of the total. Democratic challenger Shawn Smith received 134 votes.
Michales will serve a third term as alderman.
“I’ve always worked hard for my constituents and this is the time that they come out and support me,” Michales said, accepting congratulations at Republican headquarters.
In unopposed elections for incumbents, Mayor Tom Gallagher won a third term with 2,050 votes; Alderwoman Val VanGorder (R-1st Ward) won a second term with 182 votes; and Alderman Jim Partigianoni (D-7th Ward) won a fourth term with 156 votes.



Rumsey top vote-getter in justice race

Staff Reporter

State Supreme Court Justice Phillip Rumsey, of Homer, unofficially received the highest number of votes in the Sixth Judicial District Supreme Court race in Tuesday night’s election.
The Sixth Judicial District includes Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Madison, Otsego, Delaware, Schuyler, Tioga and Tompkins counties.
Without absentee ballots in each of the 10 counties, Rumsey received a total of 56,167 votes collectively. The next two highest vote-getters were fellow Republicans Michael Coccoma of Otsego County with 53,414, and Joseph Fazzary of Schuyler County with 52,112 votes.
Official results will be available after absentee ballots are counted. Ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 6.
“I feel very comfortable. I think there is no more than 4,500 absentee ballots out there,” Rumsey said Tuesday night after the unofficial results were gathered. “Nobody ran away with this. In a justice race, where people don’t really know the candidates as well as a legislature race for example, people are looking for a reason to vote for someone. I think I was fortunate that I could put forth that I am an incumbent and I have the experience.”
Ryan Pennello, 27, of Cortlandville voted for Rumsey for exactly that reason.
“Rumsey has been in the position for like 14 years now and I didn’t research the race so I didn’t vote for the other two (seats),” Pennello said. “I didn’t know the other candidates. It’s different from local races where you mostly know who the people are.”
The three highest vote-getters will fill three open seats in the Sixth District. Rumsey, Coccoma and Fazzary were all on the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines.
“I am gratified that people felt I deserved a second term. I’m excited about the position and have just as much energy for the job as I did 14 years ago,” Rumsey said. “This will provide continuity to the service we have been giving to Cortland. It’s a win for Cortland County and perhaps a reflection of people wanting to keep a Supreme Court justice at home.”