2012-09-20 / Politics

Saland Is Winner in Republican Primary

Race turned on social issues
ERIC GROSS


Assemblyman Steve Katz is congratulated by his fellow Assemblyman Robert Castelli of North Salem at a victory celebration last Thursday evening in Carmel. 
ERIC GROSS Assemblyman Steve Katz is congratulated by his fellow Assemblyman Robert Castelli of North Salem at a victory celebration last Thursday evening in Carmel. ERIC GROSS Absentee ballots and write-in votes opened Monday at Board of Elections headquarters in Poughkeepsie have given State Senator Steven Saland a 107-vote lead in the closest contest of the veteran lawmaker's three decades long career.

Final numbers have Saland with 5,288 votes to Neil Di Carlo's 5,181 votes.

On Primary night, Saland led his challenger by only 41 votes. A Di Carlo victory would have been a stunning upset.

Putnam Elections Commissioner Anthony Scannapieco said Di Carlo received 37 absentee votes to Saland's 33 during tabulation at Board of Elections headquarters in Carmel while in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess Board of Elections Commissioner Erik Haight said Saland received 286 absentee votes to Di Carlo's 217.

A total of 34 absentee and affidavit ballots in Dutchess County have been set aside so a judge can review them. Elections Commissioner Fran Knapp called it "impossible for Mr. Saland to lose. Even though the results are unofficial, he won the contest."

Saland reacted to the victory: "I am honored and gratified that GOP voters have supported and selected me to serve as their candidate. As with each and every election I have entered, I will work hard to gain the support of the general electorate since I believe it is critically important to represent all of the people regardless of their party affiliation."

Saland has already been endorsed by the Independence Party while Di Carlo did win an Opportunity to Ballot and will represent the Conservative Party on the November ballot.

The new 41st District includes Kent, Putnam Valley and Philipstown and the majority of Dutchess County.

The winner will face off against Democrat Terry Gipson in the general election.

The election turned almost entirely on social issues, especially Saland’s support in Albany for gay marriage. Di Carlo is opposed. Late Monday, Di Carlo sought to portray the results as a victory, considering that he obtained the Conservative line. Combined with his turnout in the Republican primary, he indeed had many support him:

Di Carlo said, “September 13th proved that I am the strongest candidate. The people of the 41st are holding Senator Saland accountable for his betrayal of traditional family values and voting to raise taxes by $2.6 Billion.”

  NEW UPDATE AS OF SATURDAY:  Absentee ballots and write-in votes opened Thursday and Friday at Board of Elections headquarters in Carmel and Poughkeepsie have given State Senator Steven Saland a 120-vote lead in the closest contest of the veteran lawmaker's three-decade career.

On Primary night Saland led his challenger Neil Di Carlo by only 41 votes.

Putnam Elections Commissioner Anthony Scannapieco said Di Carlo received 37 absentee votes to Saland's 33 during tabulation at Board of Elections headquarters in Carmel while in Poughkeepsie Dutchess Board of Elections Commissioner Erik Haight said 138 absentee ballots must still be counted: "We intend to wrap up the process on Monday."

Di Carlo did win an Opportunity to Ballot and will represent the Conservative Party on the November ballot.

The new 41st District includes Kent, Putnam Valley and Philipstown and the majority of Dutchess County.

The winner will face off against Terry Gipson in the general election.

Social issues, particularly Saland's new support for gay marriage in Albany, drove the primary. A Di Carlo victory could Gipson an opening to take the seat. On the other hand, Di Carlo clearly had an eneregized base; if he can translate that to broader Republican support -- and Dutchess and Putnam are basically conservative, as Republicans go -- perhaps it will be a real race.

LATE UPDATE: Nothing definite yet, reports our staffer Eric Gross...In Putnam, DiCarlo received 37 absentee votes to Saland's 33 so DiCarlo gained four votes in Putnam County. Saland leads in Putnam by 36 votes... 

According to Scannapieco, Dutchess County counted 160 absentee ballots with 100 going to Saland and 60 to DiCarlo...An additional 350-plus votes have to be counted today in Pougheepsie
Earlier story from Thursday:

Absentee ballots and write-in votes will be opened Thursday evening at Board of Elections headquarters in Carmel and Poughkeepsie to decide whether State Senator Steven Saland or his challenger Neil DiCarlo of Brewster will represent the GOP and Conservative Party in November in the new 41st State Senate District.

Saland, a three decades long state official, led DiCarlo on Primary Night by only 42 votes.

Putnam Elections Commissioner Anthony Scannapieco said 72 absentee ballots will be counted along with 48 Conservative write-in ballots while Dutchess County Elections officials said 553 Republican absentee ballots would be tallied on Thursday along with 346 write-in ballots on the Conservative Party line.While Saland received the backing of the GOP in the new district that includes Kent, Putnam Valley and Philipstown as well as most of Dutchess County, neither man had been endorsed by the Conservative Party.

Saland predicted victory once the final numbers are tallied: “I have the good fortune of being ahead, not behind. Once all the ballots are counted my victory will be more decisive since the people realize that my goal has always been to create jobs and reduce spending.”

DiCarlo predicted victory as well indicating that the majority of absentee voters were conservative: “The people want a fiscally and socially conservative state senator to represent them.”

Assemblyman Steven Katz and Putnam Legislature hopeful Joseph Castellano were winners on Primary Day.

Katz, who resides in Mohegan Lake, defeated Dario Gristina of Putnam Valley by a margin of 920-450.

At a victory celebration in Carmel last Thursday night, Katz said he was both pleased as well as being humbled by the overwhelming support: “I am heartened by this showing and look forward to victory in November.”

In the District No. 7 Legislature race, Joseph Castellano crushed Norman Marino of Mahopac by a tally of 171-55. However, Castellano lost a bid to run on the Independence Line when 17 write-ins were cast to Castellano’s 8 votes. Paul Morini, the Democratic candidate in November for the seat being vacated by Dan Birmingham, was at Board of Elections headquarters on Thursday evening and felt confident that he had taken the line. Opportunity to Ballots will be counted by Elections Commissioners Robert Bennett and Scannapieco on Friday.

Less than 2,000 of the 23,742 registered Republicans, Independence and Green Party voters took the time to ballot across Putnam.

Scannapieco said the tab to local taxpayers for the primary was more than $130,000.

On the other hand, one need only look at the Saland/Di Carlo race to see the importance of a vote.

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