ALBANY COUNTY — Political newcomer Victoria Plotsky handily defeated incumbent Darrell Duncan for the 38th district seat on the Albany County Legislature in the Democratic primary election on Tuesday, Sept. 12.
Duncan was appointed to the seat last January after it was vacated by Michael Mackey, whose appointment to Supreme Court justice in the state’s Third Judicial District was approved by the County Legislature by a 30-3 vote, just three days after he stepped down from his position as the county’s commissioner of public works on Jan. 6.
Eight months later, Plotsky, a reform-minded lawyer from Clarksville, vanquished Duncan in the primary election with more than 70 percent of the votes. According to unofficial results from the Albany County Board of Elections, Plotsky received 281 votes (70.6 percent), Duncan received 77 votes (19.35 percent), and there were 40 write-in votes (10.05 percent). Official results will be available on the Board of Elections website after all write-in and absentee ballots have been verified, likely on Thursday, Sept. 21.
Running on a platform of ethics reform and environmental stewardship, Plotsky effectively positioned herself against Duncan, who voted this year against a bill that would limit polystyrene products in the county and a bill that would prohibit county office-holders from appointing their relatives to non-civil service county jobs.
Duncan, who has traditionally been aligned with the more conservative contingent within the county Democratic Committee, has said that he felt a polystyrene ban would be more effective if implemented at the state level and that relatives should not be summarily barred from positions for which they are qualified. He did, however, vote in favor of recently defeated legislation that would have made Albany County a party in the National Grid rate hike decision expected next year.
Duncan also garnered less votes than write-in candidates in the Independent and Conservative primaries — 25 to 16 on the Conservative ticket and 20 to 7 on the Independent ticket. (Presumably, some of those votes went to Plotsky.)
Plotsky will now look ahead to the November general election, in which she will compete against Tim Stanton, who lost the 2015 race for District 38 against Mackey by less than 200 votes. Stanton, a former chair of the New Scotland Republican Committee, is a farmer who runs Stanton’s Fuera Farms and Our Family’s Harvest. In the 2015 race against Mackey, he came out in opposition to county regulation of oil trains, the polystyrene ban and the regulation of toys containing toxic materials. He has run for town council twice, but has yet to win a seat.
In other primary news:
Opportunity to Ballot write-in tallies should be complete by the end of next week; a schedule is available on the county Board of Elections website. There were a considerable number of OTB elections in Guilderland, Coeymans and Colonie. OTB elections occur when a candidate not endorsed by a political party manages to collect enough petition signatures from registered party members to allow a vote in which members can write in their name (or another name), rather than accepting candidates endorsed by party leadership.
In Bethlehem, there was only one primary election. Incumbent Town Justice Andy Kirby won against challenger Colin Dwyer on the Independence ballot with 53.3 percent of the votes (Total votes – Kirby: 97; Dwyer: 82; write-in: 3).
Kirby spoke to members of the Bethlehem Democratic Committee, which endorsed him for the seat, at their meeting on Thursday, Sept. 14 at the Bethlehem Public Library.
“I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone,” he said. “It was a victory that I owe everyone in this room thanks for.” Kirby credited the committee for helping him reach out to Independent voters who may have been unaware they had a choice.
“It’s literally a door-to-door effort,” he said, noting the abysmally low voter turnout. “I was out until 8 o’clock [on the night of the primary election]. I literally implored one man to put down his leaf blower.”