December 1, 2021

Villages cast ballots

Democrat holds 9-vote lead in race for Dryden mayor

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Joe Lucia, of Dryden, casts his ballot on Tuesday for mayor and village trustees at the Dryden Village Hall.

DRYDEN — Three people will now have served as village mayor in a year in Dryden after Trustee Michael Murphy received more votes Tuesday against Mayor Randy Sterling in village elections to serve the remaining year in office.

Murphy, Democrat and Protecting Dryden nominee, won with 137 votes to Sterling’s 128 votes, according complete but unofficial results from the Tompkins County Board of Elections. However, 20 absentee ballots have been received, according to board of election officials. Sterling would need to
get 15 of those votes to change the result.

Cortland incumbents re-elected

Village elections in Cortland County — in Homer, Marathon and McGraw — were uncontested Tuesday, with incumbents re-elected in most cases. Here are the results in complete but unofficial tallies.


Trustees Pat Clune and Ed Finkbeiner, both Republicans, were reelected to two-year terms. Clune got 39 votes; Finkbeiner got 34 votes. Both were first elected in 2016.

Clune had said he is excited to be running again, and looks for the village to maintain its transparency. Finkbeiner echoed his comments, stating how Village Board meetings are recorded and can be watched live online.


Trustee Ronald Van De Weert, a Republican, was re-elected to an eighth two-year term with 16 votes.

Newcomer Heather Dann, also a Republican, got 18 votes to succeed Robin Light, who will step down after 12 years.


Trustees Carl Bullock and Margaret Whittington were re-elected, each with 11 votes.

Bullock appeared on the Citizens Party line, while Whittington was on the Voters Have Pull line. Bullock’s tenure with the village started in 2011 and Whittington has served for one year, finishing a term for a previous trustee.

— Nick Graziano

“It’s not guaranteed, there are a number of absentee ballots out,” Murphy said.

Sterling, a Republican, was appointed mayor in October to replace Reba Taylor, who resigned.

He has served as mayor for the past six months and previously from March 2009 to March 2013. He has lived in Dryden since 1977.

Assuming the absentees do go in his favor, Murphy said there are a number of things he would like to start on to save money, including installing LED street lights to save 50 to 60 percent on energy, Murphy said. “I’m very eager to work on saving money.”

Murphy has served on the Village Board since 2013, following a hiatus since the 1980s. He has called Dryden home for more than 40 years with his wife and three daughters.

Murphy had said he had worked previously with Dryden mayors Taylor and Jim Zimmer. After the results came in, Taylor called him to offer support.

While Sterling would need 15 of the absentee votes, he isn’t counting himself out yet.

“It’s kind of early after the fact,” Sterling said this morning. The race is close. “Again, it’s up to the people,” he said. “I’m good either way.”

Tuesday afternoon, Joe Lucia had just finished voting.

“The big issue is people have to be involved on a local basis,” he said.

Erin Mix said her decision was based on which person she felt best able to handle her issue: “Taxes are terrible,” she said. “One of the worst in the county.”

In village trustee races, Democrat and Protecting Dryden candidates Jason Dickinson and Debbie Fisher defeated Republicans Daniel Wakeman and Kayla Lane Clark.

Dickinson received 131 votes; Fisher received 152; Wakeman received 126; and Lane Clark received 116.

The two trustee positions have sat vacant since October, when Sterling was appointed mayor and former Trustee Mike Hattery resigned to move out of the area. Both seats will serve for two years.


Freeville’s incumbents were re-elected to two-year terms. Democrat Mayor David Fogel received 39 votes; trustees Diana Radford, a Democrat, got 37 votes and Miles McCarty, a Republican, got 36. Write-in candidate Nathan Busby received three votes and write-in candidate Chris Hoback received one.

Art Marchese, who was running for village justice, received 39 votes for the four-year seat.


In Groton, Trustee Jean Morey and newcomer Terrance Walpole, both Republicans, were elected to two-year terms. Morey received 44 votes. Walpole, who ran to replace trustee Jeffrey Evener, received 48.