Voters in the state’s 3rd Judicial District ousted two long-standing Republican judges and chose two Democratic candidates to serve on the Supreme Court.
Democrats Richard Mott and Stephan Schick secured the top two vote totals in the seven-county district, beating out incumbent Republicans E. Michael Kavanagh and Bernard J. Malone Jr., according to unofficial tallies.
The election means two new justices will have to be appointed to the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court, where both Kavanagh and Malone are seated until Dec. 31. Also awaiting appointment is a judge to replace Anthony Cardona, who died in 2011. The appointments are made by the governor.
The 3rd Judicial District covers Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster counties, and voters were asked to choose two of five candidates, including the two incumbents.
Mott, 63, an attorney from Columbia County with 30 years of experience in state and federal court, won the greatest number of votes, 165,683, according to individual county board of election totals.
Mott said Wednesday successful elections for him and Schick mean counties downstate will have local Supreme Court justices working in their counties. Currently, counties like Sullivan and Columbia, he said, have only a judge to travel to the area periodically to handle cases.
“People’s business doesn’t get resolved with dispatch,” Mott said.
Schick, 59, of Grahmasville, Sullivan County, is director of the Sullivan Legal Aid Panel Inc. and began a private law practice in 1978. He earned the second-largest vote tally, 148,006, according to unofficial results.
“I’m honored and gratified by the votes cast,” Schick said Wednesday. “I’m also honored to be following both Judge Kavanagh and Judge Malone. I’m honored to be following them and I’m hopeful that I will reach their level of achievement.”
Kavanagh and Malone are both finishing 14-year terms following their election in 1998.
Kavanagh, of New York City, is a former New York City assistant district attorney and Ulster County district attorney. He drew 141,799 votes Tuesday.
Malone, of Glenmont, served as an assistant district attorney in Albany County and as a trial lawyer and federal prosecutor. He earned 125,257 votes.
Working Families party candidate Larry Weissmann, 50, of Rockland, served as senior assistant district attorney in Rockland County and now runs a law practice in West Nyack. He garnered 15,764 votes.
Supreme Court justices preside over the state’s primary trial courts; handle both civil and criminal cases and lawsuits with claims greater than $25,000; and rule over divorces, annulments and separations.