With all outstanding ballots counted, two Binghamton City Council races are going to a manual recount.
In the sixth district, incumbent Republican Councilman Philip Strawn and Rebecca Rathmell, a Democrat are separated by just one vote — 550 to 549, according to unofficial results published by the Broome County Board of Elections. The seventh district sees Democrat Michael Dundon with a six-vote lead over incumbent Republican Councilman Tom Scanlon. New York state law mandates a recount for any race won by either under 20 votes or 0.5 percent of the vote.
In the Nov. 7 general election, Binghamton Democrats secured a City Council supermajority, successfully flipping the chamber from Republican control. Democrats also swept races for the Vestal Town Board, while Paul Battisti, a Republican defense attorney, defeated Matt Ryan, a former Democratic Binghamton Mayor, for Broome County District Attorney.
Strawn mentioned low countywide turnout and emphasized the importance of local elections.
“It is so true every individual vote counts and within this excitement … there is some talk and focus on it, but the reality is countywide the turnout was less than 30 [percent] — and that is not [OK], even in an off-year election,” Strawn wrote in an email. “These local races impact our day-to-day lives in many ways more than the national or statewide races.”
Previously, the City Council saw a four to three Republican majority. All three councilmembers serving in the minority — Angela Riley, Joe Burns and Aviva Friedman ‘14, a member of the Working Families Party — declined to seek re-election.
Democrats swept Council districts one through five, according to the published unofficial results. In the first district, Olamni Porter prevailed over Mary Ann Callahan, 56.43 percent to 43.17 percent. In the second district, Kinya Middleton, who won 1,052 votes, beat incumbent Republican Councilwoman Sophia Resciniti, who won 944. Robert Cavanaugh II ran unopposed in the third district.
In district four, Nate Hotchkiss won 70.28 percent of the vote, and Hadassah Mativetsky beat Kevin Reilly 745 to 557 in district five.
“We didn’t set out to just flip City Council, we set out to claim a supermajority and to end the one-party rule that has gridlocked progress on behalf of Binghamton residents for more than a decade — and we did just that,” Rathmell wrote in an email. “Regardless of the final results, I am extremely proud of my fellow Democratic candidates and am hopeful about the change I know will come with or without me in a Council seat. My commitment to reimagining a community that includes all of us remains.”
Dundon and Scanlon’s campaigns did not respond to Pipe Dream’s requests for comment.
Aside from the City Council elections, Democrat Debra Gelson won a seat on Binghamton’s City Court, and Republican Cheryl Insinga overcame Democrat Deirdre Hay for a New York State Supreme Court seat.
Teri Rennia, the Binghamton City Democratic Committee’s chairwoman, described her faith in the Democratic slate, adding that she trusted the Board of Elections’ process.
“I just think all of our candidates ran for the right reasons, and they all bring a lot to the table,” Rennia said. “It’s exciting, [and] it’s stressful, but I have a lot of confidence in them, and that it will turn out in their favor.”
In a statement, Benji Federman, the chairman of the Broome County Republicans, also expressed confidence in the recount process.
“Our Board of Elections staff do a great job, and we have trust in the final result,” Federman wrote in an email.
According to Strawn, the recount is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 28 at 11 a.m.