In a show of force, Binghamton Democrats have flipped the City Council — winning a supermajority of the chamber’s seven seats — and swept elections for Vestal’s Town Board, according to unofficial results published by Broome County’s Board of Elections. Meanwhile, Republican Paul Battisti, a local defense attorney, prevailed in a heavily-contested race for Broome County District Attorney (DA) and the parties split judicial contests for Binghamton City Court Judge and a judgeship on New York state’s Supreme Court.
The headlining DA race pitted Battisti, who won 54.86 percent of the vote, against Matt Ryan, a Democratic former Mayor of Binghamton. Battisti, who spent nearly two decades in private practice, ran on a “tough on crime” platform and defeated Michael Korchak, the incumbent Republican DA in June’s primary elections. He declared victory late Tuesday night, outlining a plan for his tenure.
“As [DA], I will work hard every day to help make Broome County’s families safer by reducing violent crime and helping those suffering from mental health and substance misuse,” the statement read. “We will work with law enforcement and community partners to prevent crime and use innovative tools to help reduce recidivism.”
Logan Blakeslee, the secretary of Binghamton University’s College Republicans and a senior double-majoring in history and political science, described how Battisti’s election reflects the current state of Broome County’s Republican Party.
“Our stance on [Battisti] has not changed in the slightest,” Blakeslee wrote in an email. “We anticipate major conflicts of interest that will negatively affect Broome County residents. The Broome [Republican Party] can no longer rely on secrecy and status to win the people’s confidence. From these results, 2024 will be a challenging year that will require honest campaigning and candidates with strong morals.”
With absentee ballots still unaccounted for, Binghamton Democrats have won five out of seven council districts, with Republicans maintaining a small lead in the sixth and seventh districts. In the first district, Democrat Olamni Porter declared victory over Republican Mary Ann Callahan, with a 411 to 321 vote lead. In district two, Kinya Middleton defeated incumbent Republican councilwoman Sophia Resciniti by 104 votes. Democrat Robert Cavanaugh, a local business owner, ran unopposed in the Council’s third district, after incumbent Angela Riley declined to seek reelection.
In the council’s fourth district, Nate Hotchkiss, the Democratic candidate, prevailed over Republican Brian Nayor with 69.83 percent of the vote.
In district five, Democrat Hadassah Mativetsky holds a 735 to 552 vote lead over Republican Kevin Reilly, after Joe Burns, a Democrat who ran for Mayor in 2021, chose not to seek reelection. Republican Councilman Philip Strawn holds a seven-vote advantage over Democrat Rebecca Rathmell, while incumbent Thomas Scanlon leads Michael Dundon, a Democrat, 499 to 493.
Atticus Fauci, the president of BU’s College Democrats and a sophomore majoring in economics, said he was pleased with how Democrats performed in local races.
“Let these elections be proof that when you have the proper messages, with passionate candidates … winning elections is not only possible but probable,” Fauci said. “I personally started working on the City Council races back in April with getting [outgoing fifth district councilman] Joe Burns, [and] subsequently [Mativetsky], on the ballot by getting petitions in their district. To see that my work then and all my hard work since has [paid] off is extremely gratifying, and I can only imagine what it feels like to the candidates.”
In Vestal, Democrat Maria Sexton beat two challengers in a three-way race to become the next Town of Vestal supervisor. 47.36 percent of the electorate backed Sexton, while John Schaffer, who ran on the Conservative Party ballot line and the incumbent town supervisor, and Theodore Wolf, the Republican candidate, won 23.66 percent and 28.88 percent of the vote respectively. Sexton has 29 years of public service experience, 20 of which she spent as a New York Police Department sergeant and police officer.
In an interview, Sexton, who ran as a “Real Democracy 4 Vestal” candidate alongside two running mates, expanded on her victory.
“[We told] them the truth and listen[ed] to them,” Sexton said. “That will be what I will do every day going forward, and I’m just excited and happy that they trust me, and [newly elected Vestal councilmembers] Glenn Miller ‘78 and Robert Greene ‘09, because we will work very hard to make sure that they will have a voice everyday for the next four years.”
Greene, a retired sergeant in the United States Army, and Miller, who worked for Raytheon and roles in Arizona’s local government, were elected as Town of Vestal councilmembers, winning 33.06 percent and 31.81 percent of the vote respectively.
In a statement, Miller attributed his successful campaign to the political awareness of Vestal residents.
“I encourage everyone, regardless of party affiliation, to continue getting informed about what is happening in their community and always be part of the democratic process by voting in every election,” the statement read. “Yesterday, the interested taxpayers of Vestal had their voice heard loud and clear. I am very proud of our supporters, our campaign and our newly elected supervisor and [councilpeople].”
Debra Gelson, the Democratic candidate for Binghamton City Court judge, holds a slim lead over Republican Judge Sophie Bergman, who was appointed by Binghamton Mayor Jared Kraham. Cheryl Insinga, the Republican candidate for New York state’s Supreme Court, holds a 54.85 percent to 45.01 percent lead over Democrat Deirdre Hay.
Democrats in several United States won in a night of success for the party. In Kentucky, incumbent Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear overcame Daniel Cameron, backed by former President Donald Trump, defying political odds in a red state, while ballot measures codifying abortion rights and legalizing recreational marijuana for adults passed overwhelmingly in Ohio. In Virginia, Democrats held the State Senate and retook the House of Delegates, pushing back against Glenn Youngkin, the state’s Republican governor, while incumbent Republican Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves defeated Brandon Presley, his Democratic challenger.
“One party rule in Binghamton is finally over,” the Binghamton City Democratic Committee wrote in a statement. “With a supermajority on City Council, Democrats are ready to show Binghamton residents what it looks like to prioritize the needs of the people, not the wishes of friends and donors.”