(HUDSON, N.Y., November 3, 2015) – While the final and official tally could be days or more likely weeks away, in all likelihood Democrat Tiffany Martin Hamilton will be the next mayor of the city of Hudson, unseating two-time Republican William Hallenbeck Jr. in a tight race that will be decided when some 200-odd absentee ballots are finally counted and legally verified.
The tally of election day voters stood at 740 for Hamilton and 704 for Hallenbeck, in what has to be seen as a stunning and powerful rebuke to a mayor who has touted himself as “the mayor for all,” regardless of the final vote count.
Absentee ballots typically – but not always – reflect the same percentage split in votes as those cast on election day. But in a race this close, anything could happen. A very close tally in absentee ballots would be likely to spark legal challenges, which could delay naming of the official winner for weeks or even months.
Should Hamilton take office at City Hall, she may find herself with considerable opposition among the aldermen taking seats in the Common Council, beginning with the council president. By a quirk of the balloting, more people voted against the incoming council president, Republican Claudia DeStefano, than for her. Nevertheless, in a three-way race, the top vote-getter wins the election, and DeStefano will take her seat and the gavel in the common council as a minority winner, with the combined votes of her opponents, Tom DePietro and Victor Mendolia – who withdrew from the race, throwing his support to DePietro, but whose name remained on the ballot – totaling nearly 50% more votes than she got.
DeStefano may find some support on the council, however, where the name Scalera will once again be heard at roll call, as former mayor and councilman Rick Scalera’s 24-year-old daughter, Lauren Scalera, who ran as a Republican, was the top votegetter in the Fourth Ward. Alexis Keith returns to the council as the other representative of the Fourth Ward.
Voters in the Fifth Ward returned alderman Robert “Doc” Donahue to the council, while giving the nod to newcomer Priscilla Moore, who ran on the Republican line.
Third Ward voters returned John Friedman and Henry Haddad to the council.
Races in the First and Second Wards were not contested; Rick Rector and Michael O’Hara will represent the First Ward, and Tiffany Garriga and Abdus Miah retained their seats in the Second Ward.
In other Columbia County races of note, District Attorney Paul Czajka was returned to office by a healthy majority.
And in Stuyvesant, Frank Serpico failed in his attempt to gain a seat on the Town Council.