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Political year saw same faces in new places

Thursday, January 03, 2013 - Updated: 9:29 AM

By HEATHER NELLIS

For the C-S-E

New political boundaries applied to national, state, and Montgomery County politics in 2012. Districts for congress, senate and assembly were redrawn under 2010 U.S. Census data, changing the region’s longtime leaders, and the adoption of a charter leaves Montgomery County supervisors to create nine local districts for the new legislature.

• A new state Senate District that includes Montgomery County was said to be drawn for Assemblyman George Amedore Jr., R-Rotterdam. After a three-way Democratic primary in September propped up Duanesburg school board member Cecilia Tkaczyk to face him in the general, Amedore outraised her by a 5:1 ratio, expecting to handily beat her.

But a pair of downstate political action committees pumped a half million dollars into Tkaczyk’s campaign, giving her a last minute boost to beat Amedore on election night. Results see-sawed as a Montgomery County Supreme Court proceeding waged for weeks in determining the validity of 887 absentee and affidavit ballots. Half were opened, putting Amedore on top by 37 votes, but his attorneys objected to most of the unopened ballots. The legal battle will eke into 2013 as Tkaczyk’s attorneys appeal to open the remaining votes.

• The county found itself with two federal congressional leaders after being split east and west by this year’s redistricting. To the east, U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko was challenged for the 20th Congressional District in the November general election by Republican banker Bob Dietrich, but the hometown Democrat was victorious. To the west, U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson defeated downstate attorney Julian Schreibman for the new 19th Congressional District.

• Minden Supervisor Thomas Quackenbush, a former two-time Montgomery County Board of Supervisors chairman, was soundly defeated by Schenectady County Legislator Angelo Santabarbara in the scramble for a new 111th Assembly District seat. Locals might remember this race best in its heated ad campaign, particularly one Santabarbara-endorsed commercial that featured Quackenbush at Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s mandate relief council hearing. “I don’t know what I’m doing here,” Quackenbush says in the commercial, rewound and repeated.

• Having lost his Assembly bid, Quackenbush turned his attention to Montgomery County’s development into a new legislature under the adoption of the charter approved by voters Nov. 7. Quackenbush and the other 14 Montgomery County supervisors are responsible for finalizing the nine-district map. Most supervisors are set on adopting the Charter Commission-endorsed map, citing it as a resource publicized throughout the charter’s development, but Quackenbush and Palatine Supervisor Brian Sweet say they have something else in mind. The public hearing is scheduled in January.

• Octogenarian state Sen. Hugh T. Farley, R-Niskayuna, no longer represents Montgomery County, though he defeated Democrat Madelyne Thorne in this year’s general election. He heads into his 37th year as state senator of the newly-drawn 49th Senate District.

• In the 4th Judicial District of state Supreme Court, Judge Joseph Sise reclaimed his robe, while county Judge Felix Catena was unsuccessful in his bid to move to Supreme Court.

• For Montgomery County’s neighbors to the north, Republican Matt Doheny tried his hand for the second time at beating Democratic incumbent Bill Owens for the 21st Congressional District, which represents most of Fulton County. Owens was successful in keeping his post, which was controlled by Republicans for more than a century until Owens first won the seat. It was vacated by former U.S. Rep. John McHugh, who had accepted a position in the Obama administration as Secretary of the Army.

     

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