A mere three votes separate the two candidates for Rensselaer County District Attorney in the Independence Party primary and it will come down to paper ballots.
At the end of the night Tuesday, with all 82 Election District accounted for, Republican Joel Abelove had 417 votes while Democrat Carmelo Laquidara had 414. There are, however, 212 returned absentee ballots yet to be counted as well as two military ballots. It’s unclear how many affidavits, if any, were turned in at the polling places on Primary Day that not yet counted.
The two are vying for the seat vacant since Rich McNally was sworn in as a Supreme Court judge on Jan. 1.
The Independence Party is important to any candidate because there are 7,380 enrolled in Rensselaer County. But, the party with hardly a platform to speak of does have a catchy name that lures voters into pulling the lever on that line thinking they are being independent too.
Coupled with the Conservative Party line, which Abelove also has, the two minor parties can account for up to 15 percent of a major party candidate’s vote total in November.
Laquiadara, the former City of Rensselaer judge who became first assistant DA earlier this year, has the Democratic Party line and fended off a write in campaign to secure the Working Families Party line by a count of 107 to 41.