Voters in the city of Plattsburgh knew they would have a new mayor following the election. But they won’t know who until at least next Monday.
In the race between Democratic Clinton County Legislator Chris Rosenquest and retired city police lieutenant Republican Scott Beebie for the city’s top seat, neither candidate is declaring victory nor conceding defeat.
Unofficial results from the county Board of Elections show Beebie leading by 290 votes. Both candidates are expressing optimism that they will win with more than 2,200 absentee ballots yet to be counted.
Rosenquest said he expected in person voting to lean Republican and expects absentees to favor him. “We’ve been tracking the ballots coming in. We do some math and some projection and then we take a look at is that gap surmountable? It potentially is. And that’s why we’re hesitant to call or concede any election. We’ve got 2,200 absentee ballots that have yet to be opened. We have another week for more ballots to come in. But of those that did come in there’s a 3 to 1 ratio between the Democrats and Republicans who submitted those ballots. You know that still makes up 40% of the total vote. So that’s a lot of votes that are still out there and we’d like to wait to see what those look like.”
At the Republican’s campaign headquarters Tuesday night, Beebie echoed confidence that the absentee ballots would favor a win for him. “I think we ran a very good campaign. I’m very proud of what we’ve done. I have a very wonderful core of people surrounding me that helped me through this process. I think we did everything we possibly could. I’m cautiously optimistic. The unofficial numbers have us up plus-or-minus 290, which is good for us. I’m really hoping that that trend continues when the absentees come in next week. Obviously having 290 to the good is better than 290 to the bad. So it’s a good position to be in. But nothing’s official and with 2,200 absentee ballots out there anything can happen. So we’re just going to take our time and wait for the results as patient as possible.”
Beebie says he expected a close race. “We knew that it was going to come down to absentees. It’s a little disappointing on one hand but yet it’s exciting because we had so many people vote for us so that we are in a lead. But again with 2,200 votes still to be counted we have a long way to go.”
Rosenquest, who won the Democratic primary in June against first-term Mayor Colin Read, is also not surprised by the close results. “Both my opponent and I are pretty popular locally. We talk about the same issues. So we expected it to be close and we expected that gap to be even closer.”
As of midday Wednesday, the Board of Elections had received 2,280 absentee ballots for city races.
In city council races incumbent Ward 2 Democrat Mike Kelly is trailing Republican Jacob Avery by 35 votes with 209 absentees pending. Ward 5 Incumbent Democrat Patrick McFarlin easily retained his seat. In the Ward 4 race, 145 votes separate newcomers Democrat Jennifer Tallon and Republican Ethel Facteau with 415 absentees outstanding.
Absentee ballots will be counted beginning at 9 a.m. on Monday.