McLaughlin poised to become Rensco exec as Dems win elsewhere

McLaughlin poised to become Rensco exec as Dems win elsewhere

Democrats, after a pretty rough year, got some good news last night. A civil rights lawyer is the new district attorney in Philly. Dems took the New Jersey and Virginia governorships, and they may also take control of the latter state’s legislature, which will soon welcome its first transgender lawmaker, Danica Roem, who trounced a Republican who had referred to his opponent using male pronouns.

In the Capital Region, where Democrats enjoy an enrollment advantage, some prominent races tipped in the party’s favor, though not without at least one exception. Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan cruised to reelection, and Democrat Meg Kelly defeated Republican Mark Baker in Saratoga Springs. Three relatively young Democrats—Anasha Cummings, Timothy Kennedy, and David Bissember—appear to have won seats on Troy’s city council, which Democrats may now control 4-3, and the party retained control of the county legislative district encompassing the Collar City. 

But in the Rensselaer County executive race between Republican Steve McLaughlin, a state Assemblyman, and Democrat Andrea Smyth, executive director of the New York State Coalition for Children’s Behavioral Health, it appears McLaughlin will prevail by about two percentage points.

Neither campaign immediately returned a request for comment on Wednesday morning.

The competition heated up after incumbent Kathy Jimino, who served as county executive for over a decade, unexpectedly announced in May that she would not seek a fifth term. “Democrats have some homework to do,” a Democratic county lawmaker told the Times Union at the time. “I have not entertained a thought about it.”

Dems eventually fielded Smyth as a candidate. McLaughlin narrowly defeated deputy county executive Chris Meyer in a contentious Republican primary, despite the release just days before the vote of a recording in which the assemblyman uses vulgar language toward a female aide. McLaughlin subsequently apologized for the remarks, which the Smyth campaign used in subsequent radio advertisements.

As of Wednesday morning, Smyth had not conceded the race, though McLaughlin declared victory Tuesday night.

“She would really need to have a good absentee ballot showing to be able to overcome [the gap],” Amy O’Connor, a volunteer with the Smyth campaign, told The Alt. “I thought her showing was very strong, considering this is her first countywide race, she was a relative newcomer, and she was running against a juggernaut. Everybody knows Steve.”

Requests for comment from the Rensselaer County Republican and Democratic committees were not immediately returned.

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