GLENS FALLS — Republican Ted Wilson was leading Democrat Rob Smith by a substantial margin Tuesday night in the race for Warren County Family Court judge, although absentee ballots could decide the race.
Wilson received 13,778 votes compared to 12,401 for Smith, or 53 percent to 47 percent, according to unofficial results. A total of 3,470 absentee ballots had been mailed out and 2,968 had been returned as of midday Monday.
Learning he was more than 1,000 votes ahead Tuesday, Wilson shouted, “I won!” to the crowd of Republicans that had gathered at the Queensbury Hotel.
Wilson works as the court attorney for state Supreme Court Justice Stan Pritzker. Smith is the court attorney for Warren County Judge John Hall.
Wilson was extremely grateful in his remarks to supporters at the hotel. He gave people bear hugs afterward in his excitement, lifting their feet off the floor.
Wilson, who also had the Conservative and Reform party lines, said the last three weeks had been anxious and stressful.
The race had become contentious as of late. Attorney Melody Mackenzie had filed a complaint against Wilson, alleging he lost his temper and yelled at her during a conference in a divorce case.
The issue of how many caseloads each court handled also was an issue in the campaign. Hall deals with primarily felony criminal cases in Warren County Court, with some civil cases from Family Court, Supreme Court and Surrogate’s Court. Pritzker was the Family Court judge before being elected to the state Supreme Court position.
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Wilson told supporters that he believed the rating of “highly qualified” he received from the Judicial Election Qualifications Commission was a big factor in his victory. Smith had been rated “qualified.”
Wilson said his experience of 10 years working in Family Court also was a big factor.
“My whole philosophy is in Family Court we should avoid trials,” he said.
“You’re a family unit. Recognize the love you have for your children and get away from the animosity,” he said.
Smith did not return a message seeking comment. Smith had the Democratic, Independence, Green, Working Families and Women’s Equality party lines.
The winner will succeed Judge J. Timothy Breen, who died in January from cancer.
Projects Editor Will Doolittle contributed to this story.