CAPE VINCENT The Republican party has retained control of the Cape Vincent town council.
Town Supervisor Urban C. Hirschey was elected to a third term over Democratic challenger Alan N. Wood 651-574, according to unofficial results.
And Republican incumbent Brooks J. Bragdon was re-elected with 623 votes.
Paul F. Aubertine, the only Democrat elected, took the second open seat on the four person council with 621 votes.
The Republicans, who now control the board 4-1, were able to make up an election night deficit on the strength of absentee ballots returned to the Jefferson County Board of Elections.
Mr. Hirschey said he expected support from the absentee voters but primarily was relieved that the contentious election, which saw many challenges, had finally come to an end.
Im very very happy that its all over and Im very happy that I won, Mr. Hirschey said. Im also happy that Brooks Bragdon won. Now we have a supermajority and we can continue our good work for the town.
On election night, Mr. Wood led Mr. Hirschey 501-426. Mr. Aubertine led with 542 votes, Democrat Dennis W. Pearson was second with 497, Mr. Bragdon had 406 and Republican Michelle T. Oswald had 386.
Mr. Wood, along with Mr. Pearson and Mr. Aubertine, filed a challenge to 88 absentee ballots with the state Supreme Court on Monday. The Democrats dropped the challenge on Friday.
The Democrats had asked that the Board of Elections not certify any election results until it could determine the validity of the disputed ballots, many of which are believed to have come from seasonal residents who chose to cast their ballots in the town election.
The Democrats primarily favor the development of a wind turbine project in the town while the Republican candidates generally oppose the project. It was believed that many of the absentee voters would also oppose the development of the wind farm.
I think youll see the town is going to come together now, Mr. Hirschey said. It looks like wind is going to go away as an issue and that will give us an opportunity to heal.
BP Wind Energy confirmed in September that it plans to sell the proposed wind development project by the years end.
According to a statement released by the Democratic candidates on Friday, more time was needed to review and investigate the ballots.
After completing their investigation and reviewing the law with legal counsel, the candidates determined the Board of Elections should be allowed to complete the vote count without further delay, the candidates statement said.
Despite losing a hard-fought battle, Mr. Wood seemed pleased with his election night win and said that he would continue to be involved in town affairs.
I feel the year-round people supported me, Mr. Wood said. And if these people want to vote absentee they should be here year round to support the town because the town is dying right now. It was a good race and I felt I did well. Ive been here all my life and I plan on being here all my life.