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Election produced a few surprises, including Merlino's write-in win

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Election Day

Voters cast their ballots for local elections in November at the Queensbury Senior Center. 

Lake Luzerne Supervisor Gene Merlino received almost the same number of votes he did this time around as a write-in candidate as he did running unopposed in 2019.

Merlino finished with 459 votes compared with 451 for Dan Waterhouse, according to the results that were officially certified last week.

Merlino received 453 votes in 2019.

He initially decided against running for reelection to a ninth two-year term after experiencing some health issues. He jumped back into the fray in September following a medical leave after other members on the Town Board accused him of making purchases and authorizing overtime without board approval.

Merlino initially trailed 451-446 after write-in and absentee ballots were counted. However, county election officials discovered there were ballots with write-in votes that had not been counted. Those ballots were not automatically sorted into a separate bin, as happens when there are write-in votes, but were collected in the main bin.

Waterhouse said on Tuesday that he would not pursue any legal challenges.

“It is what it is,” he said.

He apologized for making comments accusing the Warren County Board of Elections of corruption as well as wishing that Merlino be arrested and for the board members to make it difficult for him to govern.

“I only want the best for Lake Luzerne and I let my emotions get away from me. It’s a lesson learned,” Waterhouse said.

Despite his win, Merlino was not able to pull his slate of Town Board candidates across the finish line. Rayl Zubal received 358 votes and Roger Nelligan had 334. That was far behind incumbent David O’Neal, who received 481 votes and James Niles with 479, who captured two four-year seats. Pamela Petteys, who Merlino had appointed deputy supervisor, got 35 votes.

However, Petteys picked up 350 votes in the race for the two-year seat. Zubal got 11 votes in that column and Nelligan got 3. Independent candidate Margaret Paoloni received 133 votes. Michael Fazio was easily reelected with 413.

Voters may have been confused about which column to write in the names. Merlino and his slate of candidates had attempted to inform people ahead of time how to fill out the ballot.

While write-in candidates win elections when there are no declared candidates, it is extremely difficult for a write-in candidate to beat a named candidate on the ballot.

In Fort Edward, Lester Losaw came very close to being reelected supervisor despite resigning from the position in July. It was too late for Losaw to be taken off the ballot. He received 266 votes — only 21 votes behind board member Tim Fisher, who had 487 running as a write-in candidate.

There were a few interesting write-in candidates.

Queensbury Supervisor John Strough was unopposed for reelection. However, former board member Catherine Atherden, who served one term from 2018 to 2019 before declining to run for reelection, received 23 votes. Jim Fitzgerald got 18 votes. There were also 75 scattered write-in votes.

In the highly contentious Queensbury at-large supervisor race, Democrat Jean Lapper received 34 votes. Lapper ran in 2019 and received 3,018 votes as the sole Democratic candidate, but she was not running this time around.

This year’s Democratic candidate, Brent McDevitt, performed worse than Lapper did in 2019. He received 2,236 votes despite a large amount of media advertising. His criminal past, which included convictions for drunken driving and a prison term, may have been a factor in the race. The four incumbent Republicans were easily reelected. Mike Wild finished first with 3,686 votes followed by Doug Beaty with 3,653, Brad Magowan, 3,619, and Rachel Seeber, 3,448.

The three-way race for supervisor in Warrensburg may have hindered the effort to oust incumbent Supervisor Kevin Geraghty. Geraghty finished with 478 votes. However, that is less than the combined number of votes that Bud York, running on the Working for You line, and Democrat Rich Larkin received. York had 298 votes and Larkin got 192 for a total of 490.

Only two incumbent supervisors lost in Warren and Washington counties. Thurman Supervisor Susan Shepler was trounced by challenger Deb Runyon 307-56,in a race that centered on fiscal management of the town.

In Greenwich, incumbent Republican Supervisor Don Ward lost his bid for reelection to a second term. On election night, he led Democratic challenger James Nolan 696-691. However, after absentees were counted, Nolan finished on top 740-726.

Incumbents cruised to reelection elsewhere in Johnsburg and White Creek.

Michael Goot covers politics, crime and courts, Warren County, education and business. Reach him at 518-742-3320 or


2021 election results

* = winner

i = incumbent

Field 1 Field 2 Field 3 Field 4 Field 5 Field 6
County Town/City Race Party Name Votes
Glens Falls
Ward 2 Common Council D, WF Robin Barkenhagen 335
R, Glens Falls Strong Robert Landry* 383
Ward 4 Common Council D Benjamin Lapham* 164
R Hank Pelton 125
Ward 4 County Supervisor R Dan Bruno* - i 148
D John Reilly 139
Ward 5 County Supervisor D Ben Driscoll* - i 309
R, I Philip Russell 186
Supervisor-at-Large (4) R, Team Queensbury Doug Beaty* - i 3,653
R, Team Queensbury Brad Magowan* - i 3,619
D, C Brent McDevitt 2,236
R, Team Queensbury Rachel Seeber* - i 3,448
R, C Mike Wild* - i 3,686
D Jean Lapper 34
Town Board, Ward 1 R, C Tony Metivier* - i 1,347
Team Queensbury John Kassebaum 339
Town Board, Ward 2 D, C Harrison Freer* 729
R, Team Queensbury David Deeb 695
Town Board (2) R Wanda Cleavland* - i 358
R Brendan Murnane* 416
Eagles Douglas Wholey 294
Town Supervisor D Andrea Hogan* - i 446
R, Freedom Justice Thomas Zauner 277
Town Clerk R, People's Voice Jean Comstock* 378
D Kathleen Lorah - i 345
Town Board (2) R Arnold Stevens* - i 404
Community Unity Peter Olesheski* 359
Kim Smith Party Kim Smith 262
Save the Park Robert Nessle 152
Lake Luzerne
Town Supervisor R Dan Waterhouse 451
Write-in Gene Merlino* - i 459
Town Board, 4-year term (2) R James Niles* 479
R David O'Neal* - i 481
R Roger Nelligan 334
R Rayl Zubal 358
R Pamela Petteys 35
Town Board, 2-year term (2) R Mike Fazio* - i 413
People First Margaret Ann Paoloni 133
R Roger Nelligan 3
R Rayl Zubal 11
R Pamela Petteys 350
Town Supervisor R, Positive Change Debra Runyon* 307
Your Choice Susan Shepler - i 56
Town Board (2) R, Town Pride Mary Eddy 187
R Doug Needham* - i 228
Working Man Charles Bills* 211
Democrat Kathy Templeton 18
Town Supervisor R, C Kevin Geraghty* - i 478
D Rich Larkin 192
Working for You Bud York 298
Town Board (2) R John Alexander* - i 654
R Bryan Rounds* - i 443
Tallman for Warrensburg Janet Tallman 183
R Joyce Reed 266
Town Justice The Wise Choice Stacy Davis* 338
Respect Rule of Law Michael Stern 269
Town Board (2) Cambridge First Lawrence Carrino* 270
D Robert McIntosh* 318
Cambridge First Valerie Morigerato 267
Fort Edward
Supervisor R Lester Losaw 266
D Tim Fisher* 287
Town Supervisor D, Public Service James Nolan* 740
R, Common Sense Don Ward - i 726
Town Board (2) D, Public Service James Mumby* 736
R, Common Sense Liv Thygesen 699
D, Public Service Thomas Graves* 772
R, Common Sense Julie Sipperly 701
Town Board (2) R George Flint* - i 240
Hebron United John Long 167
Fair Deal Joseph Clark 39
Dollars & Sense David Getty 138
R Paul Sokul* 198
Highway superintendent D Floyd Pratt* - i 244
R Chuck Ptacek 204
Town Board (2) D Jeffrey Zappieri 352
R William Haessly* - i 790
R Daniel Washburn* - i 892
Town Justice D, Salem Unity Nathaniel Kindel 315
R, Salem First Scott Thetford* 430
Town Board (2) D, Salem Unity Jay Bellanca 300
R, Salem First Marcus Blanck* - i 459
D, Salem Unity Peter Thomas 298
R, Salem First Howard Law* - i 418
Town Clerk D, Salem Unity Catherine Kilpatrick 241
R, Salem First Patricia Gilchrist - i 523
White Creek
Town Supervisor D, White Creek Unity James Griffith* - i 487
R Sean Cossey 259
Town Board (2) D, White Creek Unity Ralph Provenza 334
R Gregory Woodcock* 367
D, White Creek Unity Gregory Austin* 344
Moses Strong Nancy Moses Alexander 295
Proposition Subject Yes/No
Lake George Creating EMS district 535 - 200

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