October 25, 2021

GOP holds legislature majority

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Cortland County Board of Elections Commissioner Robert Howe checks ballots Thursday.

The Republicans will maintain a 9-8 majority of the Cortland County Legislature after the final tallies from two close races were completed Thursday.

Democratic incumbent Michael Barylski lost his Cortlandville seat to Republican Joe Nauseef, 328-367, according to the county Board of Elections final results completed Thursday morning.

“While I am disappointed by the results of the election in LD 12, the voters have spoken, and I respect their decision,” Barylski said in an email statement. “I believe I served my constituents honorably, passionately, and with integrity, and it was a privilege to work on their behalf these past two years.”

Barylski said he will not run again in four years for the seat. Barylski spent one term on the legislature and was the chairman of the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee for one year. He also held seats on the Budget and Finance, Health and Human Services, Solid Waste and Agriculture, Planning and Environmental committees.

“Going forward, I wish Mr. Nauseef the best as he assumes his new role as a county legislator and I hope the voters in LD 12 will support him as the legislature works through the tough decisions it has before it in the months ahead,” he said. “The most important thing is for both sides to come together to improve the lives of the residents in Cortland County.”

Nauseef said he would not have had a successful race if not for his family and friends who served on his campaign committee. He said he’s ready to get to work on county issues.

“The people have spoken and I know they expect a lot from me!,” he said in an emailed statement. “As I said during my campaign, I will always keep the hard working taxpayers in mind when making any decisions that may raise taxes. Fiscal responsibility is what I said I would bring to the table and I will work very hard for all Cortland County! I would also like to thank Mr. Barylski for the work he has done during his term. He is a very smart man and I knew that this election was never going to be an easy one to win. Thanks go out to everyone who voted for me! I have a lot of hard work to do and I am ready to work for you!”

Democrats did gain one Cortland seat previously held by incumbent Chad Poli, who ran on the Conservative Party line. He got 24 votes.

Three votes separated winner Democrat Susan Wilson, 171, and Republican Laurie Comfort, 168.

“I’m glad that Susan and I ran a good clean race,” Comfort said. “We were respectful to each other and I want to wish her well.”

Wilson thanked Comfort for a “well run race” and also said she’s honored and proud to be representing her community.

“There is a great deal of work that needs to be done but I believe that Cortland County is a wonderful place to live, work and play and I am eager to work to help in any way that I can,” she said in an emailed statement. “There are many challenges that face our county but by working together we can solve problems, grow our economy,
highlight those unique features of the county and help Cortland County thrive.”

Democrats haven’t held the majority since 2011.

Nine legislature seats were contested this year. Republicans held three, Democrats held three and two were filled by third-party incumbents. Two races had no incumbent, with one of them also being uncontested.