In a three-way Democratic primary, Plattsburgh’s incumbent mayor is trailing one of his challengers before absentee ballots are tabulated.
The three individuals seeking the Democratic nomination for Plattsburgh mayor are businessman Tenzin Dorgee, county legislator Chris Rosenquest and Mayor Colin Read, who is seeking his second term.
Preliminary primary results from Tuesday’s primary voting show Rosenquest received 342 votes, Read 177 and Dorgee 105. However mail-in and absentee ballots could be postmarked as late as primary day. So far 968 have been received of 1,329 that were sent to voters, according to Clinton County Elections Board Democratic Commissioner Mary Dyer. “We can receive them up through next Tuesday and as long as they are postmarked by the 23rd, day of election, they will be counted. Anything after that they won’t be counted. In the past, the Governor did the Executive Order to change it, it had always been the day before election. He changed it to Election Day.”
So while Rosenquest is leading by 165 votes, he cannot claim victory or concede defeat until the final count on July 1st. “At this point we are certainly happy with the in-person results but the primary is far from over. I don’t know what those absentee ballots are going to look like but we are cautiously optimistic for the results to go in our favor. Just because historically absentee ballots generally follow the same percentages as in-person voting does. But with COVID, you know everything is kind of you know who knows? But like I said we’re cautiously optimistic.”
SUNY Plattsburgh Professor of Political Science Dr. Harvey Schantz says if the current results hold true past the July 1st count, Read would be the city’s first mayor to lose re-election in a primary. “This is a vote of lack of confidence in the mayor. Furthermore the major construction project to develop the central Durkee Street parking lot might as well be on the ballot because it’s a referendum on that project as well. And looking back this becomes the seventh mayor in Plattsburgh history to lose re-election. But of the seven this is the first time that the loser was in a primary election.”
Schantz doubts the absentee and mail-in ballots yet to be counted will change the outcome for the incumbent. “In a two person race he would have to receive 59% of the uncounted ballots. And there’s nothing in the returns on Election Day to indicate that that’s in the offing. However some of the ballots might go to the third candidate and that would make the climb even steeper. Nevertheless until all the ballots are counted you really don’t know who won the election.”
Read’s office said the mayor wasn’t available for an interview Wednesday.