The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

November 13, 2013

Absentee ballots give Passarell, Goheen wins

By HOWARD BALABAN howard.balaban@journal-register.com
Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — Four Orleans County races, undecided at the conclusion of election day a week ago, were decided Tuesday with two of those races changing outcomes once absentee ballots were added to the original totals.

In the Town of Albion, Matt Passarell overcame a one-vote deficit and finished with an unofficial vote total of 503. His opponent, Jake Olles, finished with 495. 

Passarell will be the new Town of Albion supervisor. Previously, he was a town councilman. 

An Army veteran and current Baxter employee, Passarell said among his chief goals will be to keep the town’s spending down.

“Our revenues are down,” he said. “We have to be careful in this economy. We need to continue services but also look for ways to continuously improve. I’m committed to doing that.”

Passarell ran with a Conservative Party endorsement and his name also appeared on the Republican line. He said the tight election meant he “had to go the extra mile” during his campaign. 

Passarell replaces Dennis Stirk, who did not seek re-election as town supervisor. At 34 years old, Passarell is believed to be the youngest town supervisor in Orleans County.

The Town of Ridgeway highway superintendent’s race also ended with a new leader, as Mark Goheen rode absentee ballots to a 591 to 581 victory over challenger Ray Wendling.

Goheen said he was “relieved” at the final tally.

“It feels great,” he said of the win, admitting he was not expecting such a close contest. Goheen added that it was good to have the backing of family and friends.

With the race behind him, Goheen said he will spend the next four years continuing “doing what I’ve done for the past four years.”

The work Goheen has played a role in includes maintaing roads and ditches, and overseeing the installation of water lines and water districts among other things.

In defeat, Wendling noted, “Of course, I’m disappointed things didn’t turn out the way I wanted.

“But I’m proud of the fact that I ran an honest campaign with a lot of integrity,” he added. “I want to thank the Ridgeway and Medina voters for coming out and thank the friends and family who supported me throughout the whole campaign.”

Two other close races were also decided Tuesday.

Dick DeCarlo picked up the win and will be the new Town Justice in the Town of Barre. His 213 votes bested Rick Root’s 207.

David Krull’s 434 total votes earned him the position of highway superintendent in the Town of Carlton. Paul Snook, Sr., fell short with 423 votes.

Orleans County Elections Commissioner Dennis Piedimonte said he could recall one race in the past 16 years relying on absentee ballots to decide a winner.

“This is the first time we’ve had this many that I can remember,” he said. “This was unbelievable.”

Piedimonte praised all those involved in the close races, and said the towns all benefit when the races are close because it means the candidates involved are strong.

“These candidates went out and worked hard for their votes,” Piedimonte said. “This is what happens when you get candidates who do that and go door-to-door; they split the vote.”

Piedimonte added, “It’s too bad someone had to lose, because they all worked hard.”

Piedimonte noted that while the results are considered unofficial, he did not anticipate anything happening that would alter their outcome.