Democrat File Photos
LINDA BABICZ, A Democrat, was officially deemed the new supervisor in the Town of Callicoon, over the outgoing supervisor, Republican Gregg Semenetz.
Election Results Are Still Being Counted
Babicz Official Wins Top Post
By Jeanne Sager
JEFFERSONVILLE November 16, 2007 The absentee ballots made little difference for the Town of Callicoon voters.
The too-close-to-call supervisor’s race ended Wednesday morning with Youngsville businesswoman Linda Babicz hanging on to a slim lead over incumbent Gregg Semenetz.
The day after the general election, the unofficial numbers had the Democrat ahead by 7 votes.
Wednesday, after 30 more ballots were opened, Babicz had gained enough to hold onto the win she beat the six-term Republican by 8 votes.
The head of a Democratic team that mounted a large campaign to unseat the Republican majority in Callicoon, Babicz was on hand Monday night as she often is at town board meetings.
Seated next to her was the only other Democrat to earn a town seat this election Dave Erlwein, beat four-term superintendent of highways Jim Hess by a margin so significant Wednesday’s proceedings at the Sullivan County Board of Elections in Monticello would have no effect.
Along with Democrat Sonja Hedlund, who lost a second bid for a town councilman position, and Democratic Party Chair Ouida Eddington, Babicz spent the latter 10 minutes of the public hearing session prior to the meeting picking apart the town budget to get a sense of how monies are spent in Callicoon.
The budget was approved later in the meeting by a unanimous vote including Semenetz and the four-member town board Babicz will be working with come January representing a 2.8 percent tax increase from 2007.
Babicz didn’t return a call for comment, but Semenetz was somber in his reaction to the news.
“I have no desire to run [again] for supervisor,” he said. “My tenure is over.”
The North Branch resident is still the town’s deputy code enforcement officer and owner of a Jeffersonville business which will keep him in the area.
Page 2A: In Highland, Tina Palecek retains lead over Larry Fishman after absentee ballots are counted in supervisor’s race.
By Jeanne Sager
MONTICELLO Voters in the Town of Highland have their answers, but thousands more are waiting.
The Sullivan County Board of Elections is still counting the 1,658 absentee ballots that arrived in the days since the general election on Nov. 6.
Done are the numbers for the towns of Callicoon, Highland and Tusten, where contested races remained too close to call.
In Highland, the supervisor’s position went to Tina Palecek, the Republican who has been touting a petition to lower taxes.
She retained a 10-vote lead over Democrat and Conservative Larry Fishman, splitting the absentees right down the middle.
She’ll fill the seat left vacant by Supervisor Steve Barnes, who ran unsuccessfully this year for District 2 legislator.
In Tusten, the absentees secured the win for frontrunner Lisa Dowling, and brought back incumbent Lewis Meckle Jr., who was behind the other three councilman candidates after results were released by the polling districts.
Callicoon’s race remained close, going to newcomer Linda Babicz for supervisor by just eight votes (the race is profiled in more detail on the front page of this issue).
But there are plenty of votes left to be counted.
According to Elections Commissioner Rodney Gaebel, there’s no end in sight.
“We’ll probably be counting absentee ballots into next week,” he said.