October 22, 2021

Democrats gain in Cortlandville; Republicans gain in legislature

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer -- Cortlandville Town Board candidate Douglas Withey, a Democrat, celebrates his victory with his family at the Democratic Headquarter in Cortland on Tuesday night.

Democrats won their first Cortlandville offices in a half-century or more Tuesday night, taking a seat on the town council and a town justice position, even as they toppled an incumbent Republican county legislator.

Further, an incumbent Republican town council member lost his seat to another Republican in the general election.

In complete but unofficial votes, Democrat Doug Withey and Republican John Reynolds won town council seats, with 1,004 and 991 votes, respectively, defeating incumbent Republic Gregory Leach and Democrat Danny Devlen with 927 and 613 votes.

Democrat Lenore LeFevre defeated Republican Robert DeMarco for town justice, 1,125-753.
“If these hold as the official results, it shows the voters not only wanted change, but transparency,” said Tim Perfetti, the Cortland County Democratic chairman.

Democrats won in the city of Cortland, too. Democrat Carlos Ferrer defeated Penny Hughes, Cortland Citizens, in the city’s 6th Ward race, 192-116. Incumbent Republican Adam Megivern lost to Democrat Troy Beckwith, 185-128, for the 7th Ward seat.

Cortland County Legislature
However, it wasn’t all Democratic gains. The Republican party will retain its majority leadership on the Cortland County Legislature, after the results of Tuesday night’s general election. In fact, it gained a seat.

In complete but unofficial tallies, 10 Republicans and seven Democrats will fill the Legislature next year, up from a nine-eight Republican majority.

Still, eight of the 17 legislators will be new starting in January, between primary winners who were uncontested in the general election, and the victories Tuesday night.

Among the contested races, two incumbent legislators lost their seats, and the party representation for District 7, Cortland, swapped.

Republican Ann Homer, won, 262-166, over Democratic candidate Gerald Riter in the 7th District to replace Democrat Raylynn Knolls, who did not seek re-election.

Republican challenger Kelly Preston won, 548-141, in the 10th District over incumbent Gordon Wheelock, on the Have a Voice party line. Preston defeated Wheelock in the September primary, 162-46.

Democrat Michael Barylski won, 336-255, over incumbent Republican Joseph Steinhoff in the 12th District.

“We owe Joe a debt of appreciation for the four years that he has served,” Barylski said. “It wasn’t just Democrats who got me elected, there were a large number of Republicans that crossed over.”
Even Legislature Donnell Boyden (R-Homer, Preble, Scott) faced some stiff resistance in the 8th District, though he was officially unopposed. He received 380, while 219 voters wrote in another candidate. Scott Town Supervisor Kevin Fitch ran as a write-in candidate against Boyden, however it was unclear Tuesday night how many of the write-in votes were for Fitch.

Still, incumbent Republican Kevin Whitney in Cortlandville, the 13th District, held off a challenge from Conservative and Independence nominee Richard Woodrome, 259-188, whom Whitney defeated in a primary. Charles Sudbrink (R-Cincinnatus, Freetown, Taylor, Willet) won, 503-240 in the 17th District over Democrat Josh Kisner.

Democrats Douglas Bentley and Beau Harbin, who won their party nominations in the September primary against incumbent legislators in the 1st and 2nd districts, were uncontested.

Democrat Ronald Van Dee in the 4th District, who was nominated to replace retiring Legislator Richard Bushnell (D-Cortland), and Republican Paul Heider in the 16th District, who was nominated to replace retiring Legislator Jim Denkenberger (R-Cuyler, Solon, Truxton), were also uncontested.

Republican Chad Poli, in another uncontested race, the 5th District, will replace former Legislator Luke Snyder (I-Cortland), who resigned in September.

Incumbents Thomas Hartnett, Mary Ann Discenza, Linda Jones, Christopher Newell, Sandra Price and George Wagner were unopposed.

Democrats won across the board in Dryden. Incumbent Democrat Jason Leifer was re-elected for his second term as Dryden town supervisor, defeating Bruno Schickel, on the Republican and Independence lines.

Leifer won with 2,200 votes to Schickel’s 1,663 votes, according complete but unofficial results from the Tompkins County Board of Elections.

“The people in Dryden have spoken,” Leifer said. “They want us (the Democrats) to move forward.
Along with Leifer, incumbents board members Dan Lamb, on the board since 2016 and Kathy Servos, on the board since 2015, won re-election on the Democratic ballot.

Lamb received 2,232 votes and Servos received 2,200 to defeat Republican nominees Joe Osmeloski with 1,549 votes and Don Scutt with 1,629.

Check today’s Cortland Standard for complete results.