BY KATHY KAHN
While jubilation took over the hearts and minds of Republicans across the nation in the wake of the surprise Donald Trump victory, on the county level, Democrats nearly pulled a clean sweep. The only two contested seats won by Republicans were Senator William Larkin and Assemblyman Karl Brabenec, with both of those candidates owing their victories to the portion of their district in Orange County.
The two vacant County Court seats were filled by Democrats Kevin Russo and Larry Schwartz, leaving Republican Patrick Loftus and Reform Party-endorsed Howard Gerber out of the running. Loftus made a significant showing, however, winning over 50,000 of the nearly 190,000 votes cast in the county.
Higher up on the ticket, incumbent U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D) easily defeated Wendy Long (R/C), while Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D) ran unopposed after fending off a tough challenge from Chris Day (R) in 2014. NYS Senator David Carlucci (D) was returned to Albany In the 38th District by a comfortable margin over Tom DePrisco, who had his first tango in the political arena.
NYS Assemblyman James Skoufis (D-Woodbury) also held on to his seat in the 99th District, defeating Republican Colin Schmitt, though Schmitt made a strong showing in Stony Point. That district is comprised of several Orange County towns and a large swath of northern Rockland.
In the Town of Ramapo, Democrat Michael Rossman continued the unquestioned reign of the St. Lawrence Kingdom, easily defeating reform-minded Republican William Weber for the seat vacated by scandalized former council member Samuel Tress.
Adrienne Carey, who filled the town board position George Hoehmann vacated when he was elected supervisor of Clarkstown, was surprisingly defeated by Democrat Daniel Caprara. Caprara will join Stephanie Hausner to put two Democrats on the Clarkstown Board come January, 2017.
The GOP-dominated board had dealt with backlash following the suspension of police chief Michael Sulilvan. After brokering a beneficial contract compromise with Clarkstown PD and cutting taxes, however, Republicans surely hoped to hold this seat.
Clearly, it was not a happy night for the GOP as they gathered at the Pearl River Hilton.
Despite the campaign former East Ramapo school board member and president Aron Wieder waged in Orange County, he was easily defeated by incumbent Karl Brabanec (R-Deerpark), who will return to represent the 98th Assembly District, a small slice of the town of Ramapo included in its boundaries. Brabenec received most of the votes out of Kiryas Joel, as well as the United Monroe anti-bloc bloc vote. The best of both worlds it would seem. Wieder drew more votes than Brabenec in Rockland.
Rockland GOP Chair Lawrence Garvey praised the candidates, saying they had done all they could to get the word out and meet the voters.
“Running for elected office is a full-time job,” said Patrick Loftus. “I want to thank my family and my supporters for their faith in me. It is a serious undertaking.”
Although the county was “blue” in its local elections, it lit up a bright red for Donald Trump on the national scoreboard. As concession speeches were being made by local Republican candidates, Grand Old Party members were abuzz as the presidential map started turning red, indicating Donald Trump was leading Hillary Clinton in states where Dems thought she was a shoo-in.
He was declared winner between 2 and 3 E.S.T on November 9 depending what station or website you happened to be tuned into.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article said Samuel Tress faces federal charges alongside Chris St. Lawrence. This was wrong. Tress was forced to resign his board seat over a conflict of interest case handled in local court and unrelated to St. Lawrence’s federal case.