With all 126 districts reporting, incumbent district attorney Holley Carnright has scored a substantial 7,500-vote victory over challenger Jonathan Sennett.
Unofficial returns showed Carnright, a Saugerties Republican, with 22,174 votes (60 percent) to 14,652 for Sennett, a New Paltz Democrat.
Carnright attributed his victory to a campaign which focused on his accomplishments during his four-year tenure as DA. “We ran on my experience and my record, and apparently that resonated with voters,” Carnright said. The DA added he wanted to concentrate on reducing the rate of domestic violence in Ulster through a combination of outreach and aggressive prosecution of offenders.
Carnright improved on his 2007 record, when he tallied just under 21,000 votes, while Sennett slipped by about 2,000; Conservative Vincent Bradley Jr. polled 10,691 votes in that election. Carnright also had the Conservative and Independence endorsements this year. Sennett was also endorsed by the Working Families Party.
Board of elections commissioner Tom Turco said breakdowns of votes on party lines and countywide candidates by towns (and wards) would not be available until next week. Absentee ballots will also be counted next week.
GOP takes county legislature
Republicans appear to have retained control of the redistricted county legislature, taking 12 of 23 seats.
The western end of the county came in solidly Democratic, with incumbent Woodstocker Don Gregorius defeating challenger James Monserrate by a huge margin, 1747-509. Former Ulster County Democratic Chair John Parete, running in the newly created 22nd district including Shandaken and Olive, defeated Shandaken councilman John (Jack) Jorgan. The Boiceville Inn owner tallied 1612 votes to Jordan’s 869.
Parete’s sons Robert and Richard, both incumbents, scored lopsided wins in the 18th and 19th districts, Robert swamping former legislator Attilio Contini, 1118-662, and Richard defeated Arthur Bowen 1823-351.
And Democrats showed some strength in New Paltz area, as Ken Wishnick appeared a clear winner over Republican Les Kalmus, 529 to 480, with Steve Greenfield trailing far behind. Incumbent Democrat Hector Rodriguez trounced Republican Terrence Ward by a 664-174 margin. And, in a closely watched contest, incumbent Republican Jack Hayes appears to have lost his bid for reelection to former legislator Tracey Bartels in the Gardiner-Shawangunk District 16. Unofficial returns show Bartels with 1,035 votes to 905 for Hayes. Bartels is not a member of a political party, but was endorsed by Democrats and the Working Families Party. Hayes, an enrolled Conservative, was endorsed by Republicans and the Independence Party.
But it came apart for Democrats in traditional Republican strongholds, as Mary Beth Maio appears to have held on to her seat with a 798-656 win over Gerard Lyons in the Lloyd-Marlborough 10th District, Carl Belfiglio dumped Democrat Roscoe Pecora in Esopus, and Wayne Harris and former legislature chairman Richard Gerentine went unopposed.
County executive Michael Hein, running unopposed on the Democratic and Independence party tickets, tallied 25,801 votes. Three years ago in a presidential year, Hein topped 45,000 votes. Presidential elections typically turn out about 10,000 more voters.++