It was a clean sweep for Republicans in Chautauqua County in the 2020 Election, as all GOP candidates on the ballot appeared to have won their respective races, regardless of the record number of absentee ballots that have been cast and await to be counted.
The big winners in the county-wide races were Andy Goodell (R-Ellicott) for the 150th State Assembly District, Paul “PJ Wendel (R-Lakewood) for the special election for Chautauqua County Executive, and Jason Schmidt (R-Fredonia) in the race for Chautauqua County District Attorney. Also picking up regional victories were George Borrello (R-Irving) for the 57th State Senate District and Tom Reed (R-Corning) for the New York 23rd Congressional District.
SCHMIDT VOTED INTO OFFICE FOR THE FIRST TIME
For Jason Schmidt, the second time was a charm in his run for Chautauqua County District Attorney. He appears to have cruised to any easy victory over incumbent Patrick Swanson (D-Fredonia) after previously losing to the current DA in the 2016 election.
This time around, Schmidt received 29,925 votes between early voting and Election Day voting while Swanson picked up 17,122.
According to the Chautauqua County Board of Elections, there remains a possible 11,926 absentee ballots in Chautauqua County that could be added to the final vote total, but even if Swanson picked up all of those votes, he still wouldn’t have enough to win.
“I’m humbled, honored, and grateful to all my supporters and so appreciative to the team of people who have stood by my side the entire time and the movement that we created. Getting into this, it was really about the community – the victims and the police. We stayed true to that and that’s really what it is all about for me,” Schmidt told WRFA on Election Night following news that he had won.
Schmidt also offered his thoughts on how he was able to win by such a wide margin on Election Night.
I think in many respects, the election was about different philosophical approaches to the office. I tried to make that clear and I wanted to define the campaign based on that. I felt there wasn’t enough emphasis being placed on prosecution and conviction,” Schmidt said. “That doesn’t mean that I want to go out there and be a hammer looking for a nail, that’s not who I am. But at the same time I feel there were a lot of people let down in many high profile cases here, and that was never lost on me. It was important that they be remembered and honored by my campaign.”
WENDEL NO LONGER ‘ACTING’ COUNTY EXECUTIVE
In the special election for Chautauqua County Executive, Wendel defeated Democratic opponent Richard Morrisroe (Dunkirk) by an election night vote of 33,633 to 13,126. Wendel had been serving as acting county executive after being appointed by the Republican-controlled county legislature at the start of this year. Previously he had served as a member of the legislature representing Lakewood and Busti along with a small portion of Jamestown. He also was legislature chairman prior to his appointment to county executive.
“I’m excited and I’m very humbled by the residents of the county who elected me for this position. I’m humbled to win by that much – that’s the voters who spoke. It’s not an appointment, that’s the residents of the county and I think that means a lot. I’m humbled to have that kind of a margin,” Wendel said.
Wendel will now serve the final year of the current term of the office for County Executive and will have campaign all over again next year, as he’s already stated that he wants to serve a full term as the county’s top executive.
GOODELL LOCKS UP 6TH TERM IN ASSEMBLY
In the race for the 150th State Assembly District, Goodell also had an insurmountable lead over his Democratic opponent, Christina Cardinale of Jamestown. Goodell received 34,627 votes on election night to Cardinale’s 12,514.
“I’m very thankful that the residents of the Chautauqua County have given me the opportunity to represent our county in the State Legislature and I’m also very thankful that my Assembly colleagues give me the opportunity to serve as the floor leader on the floor of the Assembly,” Goodell said. “That gives me the opportunity to make sure the voices, concerns and issues that are important to us here in Chautauqua County are front and center in all of our legislative proceedings. I’m excited to go back, but I’m also very mindful that there is a tremendous amount of work to do and it will take everybody’s help and cooperation as we move forward to address these serious issues.”
The win secures Goodell a 6th term in Albany after first being elected to the office in November 2010.
BORELLO WINS FIRST FULL TERM IN STATE SENATE
George Borrello will also continue representing the three southwestern-most counties of the state in the State Senate as he easily won a full two years to represent the 57th District in Albany.
Borrello defeated Frank Puglisi (D-Cattaraugus County) with an election night final of 78,047 to 24,940. Borello was first elected to the Senate in a special election last year to finish the final year for the current term after former Sen. Cathy Young resigned from her post in early 2019 to take a job in the private sector. Last year, he defeated Democrat Austin Morgan by 42,563 to 17,270.
“I am honored and grateful for the trust that the hardworking people of our region have again placed in me to represent the 57th District,” Borrello said in a statement released Tuesday night. “Over the past year, we’ve faced the unimaginable challenges of a global health emergency and a devastating economic crisis…. The COVID-19 challenge has exacerbated many existing issues and failures of our state government, which has further energized the need for change. That will be the starting point for our efforts. We must now set aside the politics and work to face the tough road ahead. I vow to continue working to advance our recovery and fight against the extreme, politically self-serving agendas that undermine our security, ignore our shared values, and prevent us from realizing our fullest potential.”
REED DEFEATS MITRANO IN REMATCH OF 2018 RACE
In the race for the 23rd Congressional district, Republican incumbent Tom Reed defeated Democratic Challenger Tracy Mitrano (Penn Yan) with an election night total o 160,131 to 90,959. It’s not known how many absentee ballots remain to be counted throughout the district but it is likely that there are not enough outstanding to give Mitrano an opportunity for a come-from-behind victory.
It was the second time in as many elections that Reed squared off against and defeated Mitrano.
GREENAN WINS SUPREME COURT RACE
There was also a race for State Supreme Court for the eight counties making up the Eight Judicial District. In that race, Republican candidate Gerald Greenan III defeated Democrat Amy Martoche 246,688 to 181,674. Again, the total number of absentees that remain to be counted are not available at this time, but the Greenan has a likely insurmountable lead over Martoche.
The final vote totals for each race won’t be known until later this month after all absentee ballots are opened and counted and then the canvasing of all votes takes place to provide an official, final result.