Capital Region

Hawatmeh in 19th Congressional, McCalmon in 49th state Senate maintain primary leads

Challenger leading Montgomery County D.A. primary
Thearse McCalmon, right, campaigns in May
Thearse McCalmon, right, campaigns in May

Categories: Fulton Montgomery Schoharie, News, Saratoga County, Schenectady County

CAPITAL REGION — A political newcomer widened her lead in the Republican primary race in the 19th Congressional District as more results became available Wednesday.

With all in-person votes counted, according to unofficial numbers from the state Board of Elections, Ola Hawatmeh — a fashion designer, philanthropist and conservative activist — held about a 500-vote lead. She had 5,502 votes, to 5,027 for Kyle Van De Water, a Dutchess County lawyer who sought support through the district’s county-level Republican leaders.

If Hawatmeh’s lead holds up after absentee ballots are counted, in November she will be the challenger to U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-Rhinebeck, who will be seeking his second term in Congress. Absentee ballots could have been mailed as late at Tuesday, and full counts aren’t expected to take place until early July.

Turnout was light: Just over 11,000 people voted in-person, or about 8 percent of the registered Republican voters in the district.

The 19th Congressional District, while centered in the Hudson Valley and Catskills, includes Schoharie County and the western part of Montgomery County. The district’s voter registration leans Democratic, with 168,639 registered Democrats, 149,854 registered Republicans, and 128,422 voters not enrolled in a political party, according to state board figures.

In 2018, Delgado challenged and defeated incumbent John Faso, who was a freshman congressman but served decades in the state Assembly representing a Hudson Valley district.

In the 49th state Senate District Democratic primary, with all in-person votes counted, Thearse McCalmon of Schenectady had 64 percent of the vote to 26 percent for Donovan McRae of Schenectady. The two were competing for the Democratic nomination to face an entrenched incumbent, state Sen. James Tedisco, R-Glenville.

The 49th District is generally Republican-leaning. It stretches from Schenectady County through southern and western Saratoga County and includes all of Fulton County. It also includes the central Adirondacks, as far north at Long Lake and as far west as Old Forge.

In another primary result, Republican attorney Paul E. DeLorenzo defeated incumbent state Assemblyman Angelo L. Santabarbara for the Conservative ballot line in the 111th Assembly District, which includes Montgomery County and parts of Schenectady and Albany counties. DeLorenzo had 265 votes to 90 for Santabarbara.

The fight was for an additional ballot line, as both candidates already have major-party ballot lines for the November election. Santabarbara has the Democratic line, and DeLorenzo has the Republican line.

In the Montgomery County district attorney Republican primary, challenger Lorraine Diamond appears to have a commanding lead over District Attorney Kelli McCoski, though the two will still face off in the November general election.

With all in-person ballots counted, Diamond had 882 votes to 590 for McCoski, according to unofficial results from the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

About 670 absentee ballots still remain to be counted, and more absentee ballots could still come to the Board of Elections in the mail — but the 292-vote lead for Diamond will be difficult to overcome with that many ballots. McCoski conceded it was “not the result we were all hoping for.”

The absentee ballots will be opened and counted on Thursday, July 2, starting 10 a.m. in the county Board of Elections offices in Fonda, a board official said Wednesday.

Reach staff writer Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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